With the Office for National Statistics announcing in June that UK exports are at a record high, it appears companies are pushing ahead when it comes to selling overseas. However new DIT research shows there is still work to be done.
The DIT National Survey of Registered Businesses’ Exporting Behaviours, Attitudes and Needs 2017, published last month, found that 63% of UK businesses with a turnover of £500,000 or more said they think a lot more companies could export than currently do. And that’s where government can help. DIT, the department that promotes and supports UK exports and foreign direct investment, offers a wide range of help to companies at various stages of their export journey.
Exporting isn’t just good, it’s GREAT
By visiting great.gov.uk companies can:
- Access guidance on key topics such as customer insight, export finance and business planning
- Create a free trade profile which promotes their business to overseas buyers
- View live export opportunities from around the world and apply for contracts
- Search for online marketplaces suitable for their products
The website is the portal for DIT’s Exporting is GREAT campaign, which aims to inform companies about the benefits of selling overseas, encourage them to consider exporting as part of their business plans, and inspire them into action.
The National Survey revealed that up to 130,000 businesses were estimated to have acted because of seeing the campaign – promising figures, but the campaign has ambitions to drive them much higher.
Complementing Exporting is GREAT’s online services is DIT’s network of advisers across England and in British Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions worldwide. Similarly, the devolved administrations of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have networks of staff supporting exports from their regions. They’re all ready to provide businesses with expert trade advice, market know-how and practical support on growing a business internationally.
Medopad, developer of a sophisticated data-capture platform for use in healthcare, is one UK business that has recently received DIT’s export support. The department secured meetings with key Chinese buyers and took the firm on the Prime Minister’s business delegation to China earlier this year. As a result of its focus on China, Medopad has won a significant number of deals with some of the top Chinese tech companies.
In addition, UK businesses can benefit from the support offered by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s export-credit agency.
UKEF can offer finance and insurance to help companies, of any size and in any sector, win, fulfil and get paid for export contracts. It has a network of 24 export finance managers around the UK who work with companies to find the right support, whether directly from UKEF or from private-sector providers.
One company that has found success with UKEF’s support is Leisurewear International, a Manchester-based children’s clothing retailer. When it signed a high-value order from a buyer in Libya, UKEF helped Leisurewear secure the cash to finance it with an 80% guarantee on a working capital loan from the company’s bank. Thanks to this, and more UKEF support on export orders to China, Venezuela and Ukraine, Leisurewear has managed to double its turnover this year.
Championing the export cause
At the heart of the Exporting is GREAT campaign are its ‘Export Champions’; everyday businesses of all shapes and sizes from across the UK that are proudly selling overseas. One of these champions is Mo Bro’s, famous for a successful appearance on Dragons’ Den and featured in a recent Real Business article.
Each company that is accepted onto the initiative will have access to a suite of digital Exporting is GREAT assets and be considered for the campaign’s marketing materials and PR/social-media activity.
“We know that companies like to learn from other companies,” said Sas Izadpanah, Head of UK Marketing at DIT. “So the aim of our Export Champions initiative is simple – provide a platform to UK companies that already export successfully, create a community of export-minded people who inspire and inform their peers and, ultimately, see more of them reaping the benefits of selling their products and services overseas.”
Learn more about DIT’s export guidance/services on great.gov.uk and find contacts for support in your region on GOV.UK. You can also get export support from other organisations such as business organisations, professional/trade associations and banks.
If you’ve exported before and want to be part of the Exporting is GREAT campaign by becoming an Export Champion, register here.
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