International Trade

Amazon Academies return to help support SME ecommerce and export drive

5 min read

01 February 2018

Special projects journalist

The 2018 line-up for Amazon’s Academy programme has been announced, with Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff bringing businesses looking to grow in the digital economy together.

Three Amazon Academies this year will provide free, practical advice for SMEs looking for ways to scale up online, and follow on from events in Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and London during 2016 and 2017.

Taking place in April, June and September, it’s all part of Amazon’s ongoing efforts to support SME owners across the UK grow their businesses, in particular by boosting ecommerce and helping them to go global.

This year, Amazon Academy events will be held in Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff – with Real Business serving as a media partner. The Glasgow date will be the first to take place, on Tuesday 17 April at the SEC Centre. Registrations open today, and you can register here for your free ticket.

What can you get out of the event?

Previous outings, including the most recent outing during the Rural Entrepreneur Live show in Birmingham, have been attended by more than 1,200 entrepreneurs.

Many came away with renewed confidence and newfound knowledge in how to tackle exports and ecommerce, and this has contributed to UK SMEs achieving a record £2.3bn in export sales on Amazon Marketplace last year.

Marketplace is Amazon’s online platform – businesses can sell stock through the platform and gain a leg-up through outsourcing procurement, stock management and admin – it can be a boon to discoverability.

Amazon offers a range support tools to help businesses export products and services. These include global delivery and distribution services, managing customer services in the local language, and translation services of product listings.

As a result of this close guidance, six in ten UK-based businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace now export, new figures reveal. Half of all sales on Amazon’s global sites now come from smaller, independent businesses, so if you ordered something off Amazon recently, there’s a good chance it was from a Marketplace seller.

The Amazon Academy programme’s potential for boosting export numbers across the country has not gone unnoticed either. Liam Fox, secretary of state international trade, said: “The growth in SME exports on sites such as Amazon shows what can be achieved, and I welcome the company’s commitments to help more small companies go digital so they can grow their businesses and create jobs up and down the country.”

One such exporter on Amazon Marketplace is Sugru, a startup from East London which produces a mouldable glue. Sales on Amazon continue to grow by more than 100 per cent every year, reaching millions of customers in seven countries around the world.

“From launching our business in the UK, we’ve now expanded to sell through Amazon across seven countries, and now Amazon in the US is our single largest customer,” said Sugru’s founder, Jane Ni

Dhulchaointigh. “With more than two million customers globally, we look forward to boosting our export sales even further in 2017.”

New opportunities on the horizon

It is easier than ever before to launch a business and sell goods and services overseas, and the Amazon Academy events are designed to show SME owners how to tap into the global market.

At the launch of the Edinburgh academy last year, Graeme Smith managing director at Amazon Development Centre Scotland explained: “The internet is a great leveller between big and small businesses. Anyone with a laptop, an internet connection and a great idea can compete with the biggest companies, and we at Amazon want to help them achieve that.

“Just last year, UK sellers on the Amazon Marketplace exported £1.8bn worth of goods. Amazon puts business owners in touch with customers all over the world, in their own language and in their own currency; and we are able to help businesses with customer services and logistics, leaving each with more time to focus on developing on great ideas.

“The potential for SMEs in the digital economy is huge and there’s never been a better time for Scottish businesses to take the next step and not just achieve their ambitions but exceed them.”

Register here for your free ticket to Amazon Academy Glasgow.