GraphicPeople secures British contracts thanks to ‘very successful’ B2B matchmaking

16 October 2015
ITC News

A business matchmaking session in London has paid off nicely for a Bangladeshi tech company, enabling it to gain a foothold in the UK market. The November event, organized by the International Trade Centre (ITC), resulted in three new contracts for GraphicPeople, an offshore production studio that provides digital and print production services.

The linkups between Dhaka-based GraphicPeople and three advertising agencies in the United Kingdom stemmed from a business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking event last November organized by ITC as part of the Netherlands Trust Fund III (NTFIII) Bangladesh project. GraphicPeople is a beneficiary of the NTFIII, a partnership between the Dutch Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) and the ITC that builds the export competitiveness of Bangladesh’s high-tech industry.

‘We had B2B meetings in London in November 2014,’ said Imtiaz Ilahi, GraphicPeople’s managing director. ‘The leads took time to mature, but it was eventually very successful. The matchmaker found the right and suitable companies that are seeking offshoring as an option.’

The event brought GraphicPeople together with high-level managers such as chief finance officers, chief executives and owners of six companies. Meeting with people who can understand the financial benefits of offshoring and who were in decision-making positions was ‘very important’, Ilahi said. GraphicPeople secured new contracts with the three British companies – its first step in the British market.

‘Our revenue has gone up between 5% and 7%, thanks to these contracts,’ Ilahi said. ‘The most important part was the UK as a market: it was much more mature and open to working with international companies. It is more multicultural than other markets in Europe and culturally more aware of Asian people working with them, and English as a first language has helped a lot.’

GraphicPeople built a website for one of its new clients and created banners for all three advertising agencies, Ilahi said. The recent transition in digital communication media from Flash to HTML5 has generated additional business for his company, which has added five web developers to handle the extra work required by the new British clients.

The contracts with the three advertising companies ‘will continue long term, because we can already see the increased engagement’, Ilahi said. ‘We’ve given them a proven model.’

Past B2B matchmaking events arranged under NTF III in Denmark and the Netherlands gave GraphicPeople its first European clients. But these clients are small companies with just one or two employees. Winning contracts in the United Kingdom, Europe’s second-biggest economy, means greater growth potential, Ilahi said.

‘Companies in the UK are medium-sized, which shows that they are able to grow and take in more clients, and this means there is a good chance for more business’ for GraphicPeople, which began in 2004 with eight people and now employs more than 250.

GraphicPeople is looking forward to future B2B events in the United Kingdom and the opportunities they are likely to produce, Ilahi said. ‘The UK market is very large and there are many agencies, which makes it a potential location for doing more B2Bs. There are challenges in offshoring, but if you know them and address them at the beginning, it is possible.’