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Business Opportunities

Trade Associations

Representation is key for print service providers looking to grow and succeed. Rob Fletcher investigates how industry trade associations can help UK businesses achieve their goals

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Strength in numbers

In a crowded industry like print, it can sometimes be tricky for companies to have their voice heard. Showcasing your services and products or drawing awareness to your business may prove a difficult process when taking into account the amount of competition around.

This is where trade associations play a critical role. These bodies work with print businesses of all shapes and sizes to help promote them to the wider industry and shine a light on their company, in turn bringing in new business and helping them grow.

Print Monthly spoke with some of the trade associations in the UK print industry to find out exactly what these organisations can do to drive print businesses to succeed.

Sense of community

First up, FESPA UK is a branch of the global FESPA organisation, working with companies in the UK across wide-format, signage, screen print, corrugated, textile, industrial, 3D object printing, and point-of-sale. Suzi Ward is managing director of FESPA UK and is one member of a three-person team tasked with overseeing operations at the body.

As a global association FESPA can support companies wherever they are operating


“FESPA UK brings together the talents of wide-format digital, textile, industrial, and specialist printers across the UK,” Ward says, adding: “Our events promote a safe space where competitors become colleagues. There is no hard sell, only the sharing of learning that everyone can take away to improve their business.

“In addition to forging proactive links between our members, we offer benefits like technical know-how, market information and expert print-focused guidance when claiming back R&D (research and development) tax, which has proven to be incredibly beneficial to our members.

“Our community offers education and networking with likeminded individuals who want to share and learn from each other.  As an association we are committed to making a difference to the industry with lasting initiatives on waste management, education, and encouraging young people into print.  Our members benefit from being involved with our events and initiatives not only for their businesses, but they help to make a difference for the industry.”

The focus on community is a running theme throughout FESPA UK, with Ward encouraging print companies to consider joining the organisation and networking with other members, rather than face tough times alone.

FESPA UK also benefits from being part of the wider FESPA group; a network that includes 36 other associations around the world which FESPA UK can call on for support when its members are working within countries outside the UK. This, Ward says, can be invaluable especially following Brexit when export and import is such an issue.

Ward goes on to say that FESPA UK constantly has its finger on the pulse of the industry and is always working with members and partners to ensure it is addressing the most important trends and patterns in the market.

“We are working hard on a joint project with Reconomy to take as much print-related waste out of landfill as possible,” Ward says, adding: “We have been working on this project for just over a year and so far, we have been responsible for removing over 150 tonnes of waste from landfill.  This is a five-year plan, and our end goal is to manage every single aspect of a printer’s waste.”

“We are a small but proactive association whose focus is to make a difference for the industry. We are committed to creating lasting initiatives that truly make a difference to the industry.”

Constantly evolving<