UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the North West has welcomed the announcement that the Government is to award an additional £13 million funding to enable more companies to trade overseas.

The extra money will go to UKTI to allow them to help 10,000 new companies to make contacts and sell to overseas markets.

The majority of the investment – up to £9 million – will go directly towards boosting trade opportunities for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director for UKTI North West says,

“I have challenged the North West business community to work with us to find 1000 new exporters this year and we are well on our way, but the additional funding will enable SMEs to have real additional benefits in their international business market planning and help drive us to the target. 

“Trade Fairs and Trade Missions can be extremely helpful and we have increased the funding available to SMEs to take their first steps in exporting using UKTI schemes. 

“SMEs cannot do enough research into markets so we have also taken the decision to discount our OMIS service whereby firms can take advantage of the tremendous local business knowledge of our staff in 200 locations in 100 countries around the globe who will carry out in depth market research on their behalf.

“This is a terrific package of support for businesses all round the North West and I encourage firms to contact UKTI to see how they can use these services to begin their exporting journey or to enter new markets in some of the emerging, high growth regions of the world.”

This additional funding for SMEs means:

There will be more money available for SMEs to attend trade shows overseas through expanding the Tradeshow Access Programme.
Substantial discounts will be offered on the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), which provides targeted market research to help businesses find those crucial first contacts and to encourage them to develop relationships in new, fast-growing markets.
There will be increased support available for travel on overseas trade missions.

In addition, £2.5 million will be invested in helping firms access and win some of the many high-value opportunities that UKTI has identified globally.

A further £1.5 million will be used for projects including support for UKTI’s work attracting vital inward investment into our economy.

This announcement comes as UKTI prepares to host ‘Export Week’ from 12-16 November, when there will be over one hundred events up and down the UK designed to reach out to SMEs. 

Mr Drinkwater adds,

“Although we will have a particular focus on exporting during Export Week and will be hosting some exciting events, exporting is something that firms should be looking at all year round.  There are significant benefits that spring out of trading internationally, increased productivity, enhanced levels of innovation and greater resilience.  I encourage firms not to delay and to begin looking at how their own businesses can benefit from these improvements.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“One of our major ambitions for growth is to boost UK exports: we have to excel in trade. Small and medium-sized enterprises are crucial to this challenge – over half of the monetary value of the UK’s exports comes from SMEs. 

“SMEs are innovators in every sector, whether hi-tech or traditional, and they are major job creators for our economy employing almost 60 per cent of the private sector workforce. This extra funding will help those businesses already exporting to go further and explore new markets, and help those thinking of exporting to make that crucial first step.

“We anticipate that over 10,000 businesses will benefit from the additional funding, moving us closer to our ambition of getting 100,000 more businesses exporting British goods and services around the world.”

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“UK Trade & Investment intends to double the number of companies it helps to 50,000 by 2015. We know that our help can have a transformative effect on businesses. On average, companies that work with UKTI go on to win additional sales of £100,000 within 18 months and 90% of those we support are small and medium-sized firms.”

“This extra investment will directly help businesses to travel abroad to showcase their products, find more customers, and make the contacts they need to succeed. As we look to trade more with high-growth markets outside the EU, we want to ensure businesses have the .support they need to realise their full potential.”

The new investment comes as part of a drive by Government to boost exports for UK firms and achieve its ambitions to:

Double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.
Get 100,000 more companies exporting.
Increase the proportion of companies that export from one in five to one in four, the European average.
The £13 million investment will be funded by under spend from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ annual budget for 2011/12.

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