Event highlights latest grant funding available to drive export
Businesses from the Leeds City Region were able to get the latest information about the myriad of grants and support available to help drive overseas expansion at an event organised by peer-to-peer export advice service ExportExchange.
Held at Garbutt + Elliott’s new York offices last week (16 May), a number of export finance experts were on hand to update exporters about funding programmes currently available from DIT and the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. Among the speakers at the ExportExchange ‘Live’ event was James Smith of the Manufacturing Growth Programme, Simon Middleton of Make It York and Ingunn Vallumroed from DIT. They updated the attendees on the recently launched MGP2 programme, which makes a further £12m of funding available to SMEs as well as the extension of the Exporting for Growth grant funding helping SMEs in the Leeds City region to explore new markets.
In addition, international finance and banking experts Jon Gillgrass of Santander and Tariq Javaid of Garbutt + Elliott provided advice on mitigating risk and some of the funding challenges facing businesses on the export journey.
Chaired by David Parkin, successful exporters from the region. Eric Hawthorn of Radio Design in Shipley, which designs and manufactures electronic equipment for mobile networks, and Rob Whitehead of Harrogate-based traditional confectionery business, Serious Sweet Company, discussed their first-hand experience of trading overseas.
Eric Hawthorn said: “Having founded the business 12 years ago, we’ve grown into a global organisation supplying businesses worldwide, including having a local presence in China, India and Finland. There’s no doubt in my mind that the willingness of peers to share their export stories has been extremely valuable and helped us on our journey, which is why initiatives like ExportExchange are so important.
“As a mobile communications business, we had always planned to trade internationally, and the support we received from DIT, particularly in terms of introductions to senior people within their global networks, was vital. My advice to fledgling exporters is to make sure they have innovative products which are right for the market and also to be dogged and take a long term view – it took us ten years to break into the Indian market! Businesses need to be aware that there is lots of help on hand, both in terms of funding support and advice, so make sure you use it.”
The ExportExchange.co.uk initiative, which launched in 2017 to bring together experts in overseas trade within firms from the Leeds City Region, now has over 170 members and has helped share exporting knowledge with many growing exporters who have registered to receive advice from experienced Yorkshire mentors or ‘patrons’.
The ExportExchange programme is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Department for International Trade (DIT), and a number of private sector export specialists.