The British firm pumping water in Africa

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  • The firm’s top export markets include Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

  • UK aid funding has provided more than 40 million people in 30 countries with access to drinking water or a toilet since 2015.

  • The United Nations’ World Water Day (Friday 22 March) reminds us that 2.1 billion people live without safe water at home.

With advice, market research and support from the Department for International Trade (DIT), exports of solar water pumps – mainly to African countries – now account for 52% of Exmoor based SCL Water’s sales.

Since 2015, UK aid has funded projects which have given more than 40 million people access to drinking water or a toilet in 30 countries. Availability and sustainable management of water is one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the theme of this year’s World Water Day: Leaving no one behind.

SCL Water was established following the family’s need to drill a borehole to irrigate their Devon farm, and has since grown to four people with another employee expected this year. DIT advisers helped the company research their market by taking co-owner Steve Kingdon-Saxby on trade missions to Ghana and Uganda, organised exporting workshops and helped SCL establish an online presence through its E-Exporting programme.

The family started selling water pumps overseas in 2012, and exports now account for 52% of all sales.

Steve Kingdon-Saxby, co-owner of SCL Water, said:

It is wonderful to think we are helping people obtain such a basic human need and we are proud to be able to support these projects, be they large or small.

My top tips for anyone thinking about exporting are: visit your market on a DIT trade mission, really understand your products so that you can add value by backing up your sales and service proposition with support, only sell top quality products and, finally, be prepared for calls, texts and emails 24/7! If we can export, you can.

SCL Water’s top export markets are Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. The business also supported the work of an American charity by supplying complete solar pumping systems to clean water projects in Sierra Leone. The company has sold as far away as Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean, French Polynesia and Turkmenistan.

International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP said:

SCL Water is a brilliant example of a UK company showing ingenuity, ambition and a willingness to share its products and expertise around the world.

My international economic department is here to support businesses of all sizes to realise their exporting potential, and I would encourage any company thinking about selling overseas to visit or contact their local DIT office.


Further information:

  • Contact the DIT Media and Digital Team on +44 (0)20 7215 2000

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