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Export Award For Publisher User Friendly Resources

Friday 11 April 2003

Export Award For Publisher: User Friendly Resources
- A Smart, Small Christchurch Company

Christchurch, April 11, 2003 -- User Friendly Resources, a Christchurch company that’s made a name for itself developing and selling educational resources and has increased annual foreign exchange earnings by more than 30% in the past year, has won a Trade New Zealand Export Award.

(Note to Editors: Media are invited to attend the Trade New Zealand Export Award presentation to User Friendly Resources by the Minister of Trade Negotiations, the Hon. Jim Sutton, on Friday 11 April, 9.30am, at the company’s premises, Level 3, Fidelity House, 167 Victoria St, Christchurch).

An educational publishing company, User Friendly Resources specialises in developing supplementary resource books for students, teachers and school leaders from early childhood education through to senior secondary.

Managing Director Stephen Clegg says the company currently has just over 400 active titles in print ranging across all the major curriculum areas, plus teacher reference, professional development and school leadership material.

Exporting for 10 years, international sales now account for about 60% of total turnover. Australia has been its main export focus, with sales to that market growing very rapidly in the past few years, the result of a combination of factors, says Mr Clegg.

“We’ve had a long term commitment to Australia and have built up a significant amount of knowledge about the market and how to effectively promote our resources to Australian schools. We are now really seeing the benefits of that commitment.

“Our growth in Australia has come about through constantly striving to better understand their education market, maintaining a consistent presence, building our reputation and continuously striving to improve all aspects of our product and service delivery. In the last year, just under 40% of all schools in Australia have purchased resources directly from us which is very satisfying.”

Owned by Mr Clegg and Publishing Director Pauline Scanlan, User Friendly Resources is a small company, employing eight people in its Christchurch office. Mr Clegg says one of its key competitive advantages is the effectiveness of its direct marketing programme.

“We direct market to all schools in Australia throughout the year. We also invest a significant amount of money in IT and continually look for opportunities to utilise technology in the business.

“Our web site has been a pivotal part of our growth in Australia. It acts as a complete catalogue for all our resources and contains content descriptions and sample pages. It allows teachers to purchase directly on line without having to prepay or provide credit card details which we think is a huge factor in our success in Australia. We also provide a 30 day right of return at no cost to schools, and this provides security to the customer when they make their purchase.”

Trade New Zealand Account Manager Cate Hlavac congratulated User Friendly Resources on its Export Award, saying the company has built up an intimate understanding of the Australian market which is translating into strong growth.

“Customer service, the high quality of its publications, educational knowledge and ongoing product development are all critical to its success. The company produces about 50 new books a year, mainly written by New Zealand and Australian teachers, and has the ability to not only meet the changing needs of the market but also to anticipate those needs.”

Stephen Clegg says in the last few years User Friendly Resources has begun to investigate export opportunities beyond Australia.

“This has been undertaken with significant support from Trade New Zealand, including assistance to exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair for the past three years. Our attendance there has resulted in a number of foreign editions and licensing and distribution agreements with educational publishers and distributors in several countries, including Canada, Singapore, Germany and the UK.”

While Mr Clegg believes these new export markets will generate significant foreign exchange earnings for User Friendly Resources, he says Australia still offers its greatest potential for growth.

“Australia will remain our major export growth market for at least the next three to five years, though we will continue to pursue opportunities that exist in other international markets. We are a small company and it is critical that we remain focused with our export activities.”


About the Trade New Zealand Export Awards:
The Trade New Zealand Export Awards, sponsored by DHL Worldwide Express, recognise outstanding achievement and growth by New Zealand exporters in international markets. Winners become contenders for the Exporter of the Year in their sector category, and category winners (with the exception of the Emerging Exporter Category) then vie for the Supreme Exporter of the Year Award, announced at an annual dinner on 12 June 2003 in Christchurch.

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