Government doubles number of firms receiving export help

THE number of medium-sized businesses receiving UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) support to sell overseas has doubled in just seven months from 1,000 to more than 2,000.

In April Trade minister Lord Livingston wrote to every medium-sized business in the country offering them tailored trade advice and an intensive programme of support from UKTI to help them start exporting or break into new markets.

Medium-sized businesses are vital to the government’s long-term economic plan to reduce the deficit and create more jobs. The CBI estimates that if they reach their full potential, it would be worth £20-£50bn to the UK economy.

However only 17% of UK medium-sized businesses generate revenues outside of the EU compared to 25% in Germany and 30% in Italy.

This week marks UKTI’s sixth Export Week. 150 UKTI trade advisors from embassies around the world are in the UK to provide expert advice to both small and medium companies.

Last month UKTI announced that it had increased the number of businesses it supported by 50% to almost 48,000 business in 2013/14. The vast majority of these firms were small businesses.

Lord Livingston said: “By reaching more international customers our medium sized businesses can become the next Vodafone, Unilever, or Jaguar Land Rover.

“I would like to see British firms exporting just as much as companies from Italy and Germany so I am hugely encouraged by the ambition of our newly recruited firms. By the end of this year I want to treble the numbers receiving support so that we can overhaul our international rivals.

“Companies do better with UKTI support, receiving advice on over 100 markets around the world, introductions to new distributors, access to finance, help to sell online and much more.”

Medium-sized companies succeeding with help from UKTI include Yorkshire’s Pavers Shoes, which has expanded from 35 to 100 stores in India.

Of UKTI’s new medium-sized customers almost half are from five sectors:

• Construction -116
• Food and Drink – 111
• Business Services – 104
• Mechanical Electrical and Process Engineering – 74
• Automotive – 67