As UK companies contemplate life post-Brexit, a number of lucrative but often dangerous emerging overseas markets are starting to beckon. The race is on as to who can land the most reliable partners in erstwhile little known trading areas.

But well before deals are signed, the key hurdle to overcome is the natural vulnerability of western businesses entering new, unfamiliar overseas markets. They will almost always be first in a firing line created by any sort of regional crisis as they are generally less well protected than government (embassies?) or military interests and staff.

How likely is a government U-turn post-deal?

Security of company staff and assets is naturally paramount. But what about political stability? Is your investment facing risk of appropriation by a foreign government that decides to change its laws post-deal? Are there sufficient safeguards in the form of a free press or an independent judiciary? Are your local suppliers reliable and financially well set-up?

Other key questions to ask include do you have a plan B in the event of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or staff crisis? And do you know the full background of people you are dealing with, their level of integrity and honesty? Are there known outside influences on staff that can lead to money laundering or forcing/bribing employees to favour certain suppliers. And is there evidence of any ‘protection’ operations by local criminals?

Blackhawk’s Corporate Security Solution

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Answers will be needed, thick and fast; some will be easy to find but others will need local inside knowledge that may only be gained after using valuable time, money and sometimes goodwill. It may then be time, perhaps, to call on the services of a specialist corporate intelligence agency like Blackhawk which can give you constant value-for-money feedback to inform your decision-making: should you move into a foreign market or actually stop in your tracks.

To keep companies fully informed about the often fast-flowing and unexpected events taking place in emerging markets and other high-risk countries, Blackhawk’s intelligence team has launched an up-to-the-minute global briefing service, Corporate Security Solution, which brings together many of the services the agency has supplied clients over the past 15 years.

Tailored security data on region of your choice

The service guarantees to give clients accurate, tailored security data on their target country or region on an hourly, daily, weekly or otherwise arranged basis – data that can be sent to any combination of staff grades.

Blackhawk offers exhaustive and regular updates on the security and safety of staff and facilities, and answers all your key questions. Is there political, social or religious unrest, are any demos scheduled? What crime rates and corruption levels would you face? Would traffic disruption cause delays in your supply chain or prevent staff getting to a destination? Is the power supply reliable or are blackouts inevitable?

Tap into a well-oiled human resources network

For over 15 years, Blackhawk has been steadily building up international networks of local investigators, police sources and embassy contacts across eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. As a client not only will you get regular detailed briefings on a daily, weekly or otherwise agreed basis, which includes forecasts and risk assessments, but there are also emergency action alerts within just 30 minutes of information received by our networks.

One recent example of Blackhawk’s work involved a global banking group working in Kenya and other parts of Africa where its staff and operations were vulnerable to outside threats, corruption and fraud. Daily security reports and emergency warnings of impending large-scale Kenyan police and government crackdowns on drug cartels meant the client kept its staff safe by avoiding sending them to affected regions.

Blackhawk gives all-clear to proceed – or not

Blackhawk is often asked to investigate the background of clients’ potential overseas partners. In one case an international property company needed background due diligence checks before entering a new deal. Detailed Blackhawk investigations into personal, commercial and political links, based on interviews with individuals and public records (press, social media and other public sources), revealed considerable undisclosed material. None of this flew any red flags, however. Those being investigated were found to be honest and trustworthy, although their business credentials and financial stability were questioned. Blackhawk had fulfilled the brief: to give its client sufficient information to make an informed decision – with its eyes wide open.

The key is knowing when to call in the experts. Have you done all you can to mitigate risk? Are there still glaring questions unanswered about partners, markets, terrain? Have you considered the safety of local staff alongside that of trusted western employees who you may want to oversee operations? If in any doubt, it doesn’t cost much to call us at Blackhawk, tell us what measures you have taken and ask do you need to take any more. You’ll sleep easier, for sure.

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How to enter untried markets in a dangerous world

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As UK companies contemplate life post-Brexit, a number of lucrative but often dangerous emerging overseas markets are starting to beckon. The race is on as to who can land the most reliable partners in erstwhile little known trading areas.

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