A ROSSENDALE firm is looking to chip in and help with next year’s Winter Olympics.

Universal Smart Cards (USC) has been chosen as one of only 13 British companies to attend a trade mission in Moscow, organised by the British Chamber of Commerce, later this month.

As the only Lancashire representative out of 90 applicants, business deve-lopment manager Paul May hopes he’ll be returning from Russia with a lot of love for the company’s prod- ucts and services.

They include a vast range of contact and contactless smart cards – all featuring a PVC microchip – card readers, card printers, fobs, wristbands and labels.

With the 2014 Winter Olympics being held in the Russian city of Sochi, USC is hoping its expertise in ticketing, identification cards and banking will impress members of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce.

As the UK’s largest indep-endent manufacturer and supplier of smart card tech-nology, USC is looking to broaden its export links beyond the Middle Eastern and African markets it has already entered.

Its northern regional office has been based at the Kingfisher Business Centre, in Rawtenstall, for the last five years.

Mr May, who lives in Clitheroe, is one of five staff based at the Burnley Road site.

He said: “We joined the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce about a year ago to learn how to partner with agencies abroad.

“Through that I resp-onded to an advert by easyJet looking for businesses int-erested in creating links with Russia and we obv-iously impressed them enough to be selected.

“This trade mission will enable Universal Smart Cards to gain a superb insight into the Russian business environment. We are extremely keen to form-ulate a market entry strat-egy and grow our overseas business.”

Currently, Russia ranks as the UK’s 24th largest export market. Over the last 12 years, UK-Russia trade has been growing at an average of 18.5per cent year on year, with an annual growth rate of 9.5per cent forecast for the next 10 years.