Economy minister for Wales Edwina Hart has visited the firm, which specialises in character licensed confectionery, at its Blackwood headquarters to discuss its export strategy.
It currently sells products in more than 40 countries worldwide and, with recent investment from the Welsh government’s Innovation Vouchers scheme, intends to further expand operations in both the domestic and international markets.
The Welsh government has offered the firm £27,360, which it said it would use to invest in new, innovative technology to help further drive the business’s productivity.
Small to medium-sized firms can draw on the Innovation Vouchers scheme to subsidise a range of and capital investment in work commissioned with third parties and in transformational technology.
Significant export growth
Bon Bon Buddies has eight dedicated European sales and logistics facilities with further distribution in Central Eastern Europe, China and Middle East. It has enjoyed significant export growth in the United Arab Emirates, having first entered the market in 2011.
Last year the company opened up new markets in Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. Its export achievements were recognised with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, one of the UK’s highest accolades for business success. It also plans to win a 20% market share across Europe.
“Bon Bon Buddies has humble beginnings, with the business starting from the front room of my home,” said Chris Howarth, md of Bon Bon Buddies. “In 21 years, we’ve grown the brand from strength-to-strength and exports have certainly had an important part to play in this success.
“Bon Bon Buddies has ambitious plans to continue to grow and expand the international markets we operate and sell to. Working closely with the Welsh government, which champions the importance of exports, is an important partnership for us.
‘More agile innovation’
“Our aim is to increase the proportion of non-UK sales to two thirds of total sales. Thanks to the recent investment from the Welsh government, we’re able to purchase new technology that means we will have a far more agile innovation, research and development process across our products and brands.”
Hart added: “Bon Bon Buddies is a very innovative company with plans to increase its own brand confectionery. I am pleased to support that through the Innovation Vouchers scheme, which will help it develop new products and get them to market faster.
I am also delighted to hear about the company’s plans to increase exports significantly which is vitally important for our economy and I wish the company every success in the future.”