AMBITIOUS companies could help Yorkshire cities to become the “San Francisco of the UK” but they need to get over their fear of exporting, according to the founder of a leading translation firm.
Larry Gould, the chief executive of Leeds-based thebigword, believes the biggest barrier to companies exporting is language.
“The opportunity for Yorkshire companies is amazing,” he said. “Exports in the region have grown to more than £17.5bn. There’s no reason why cities in Yorkshire can’t become the San Francisco of the UK (the home of Silicon Valley). But companies have not got to be scared to export.”
He added: “The biggest fear is language.”
Mr Gould said companies should be sitting down and thinking about their strategy for selling overseas. “The market’s there and the prosperity of this country is founded on export,” he added.
“It’s about looking at your product or service and deciding which country would like what you make, or do, or provide, and then doing some online research.”
Thebigword is seeing a revival in the economy through its clients. It is currently receiving 900 new enquiries a month. “That’s the highest it’s been in a long time,” said Mr Gould.
“We are seeing optimism driving the revival,” he added.
He added: “The legalities of selling in a lot of places have disappeared so there is no issue any more. There are some industries that are exceptions but there are very few.”
Thebigword, which employs 400 staff in Leeds, has 13 offices in 11 countries and employs around 7,000 linguists a year, including 350 a month in Yorkshire. It translates 500 different language pairs.
Its linguists work from 73 different countries.
Its newest office is in Brazil where it opened a base for a global customer. It is also looking to expand further in North America, China, Japan and Europe.
The company recently won a contract with the Ministry of Defence, worth between £6m and £18m, to deliver interpreters for its training of the Libyan military.