Organised by Australian-born and London-based entrepreneur Michael Jacobsen, the missions will see mainly early-stage companies from a variety of sectors visiting London to meet UK companies at pre-arranged networking events and also get a chance to pitch to panels of investors.An initial trade mission from Poland, under the banner of “The Ready to Go Programme”, has already taken place and following its success others are now set to follow, it has been confirmed. Representatives from four Polish companies made a trip in June as part of an initial pilot group, spending a week networking, meeting potential mentors and investors and visiting key business locations and venues in the capital, including Innovation Warehouse and Level 39 technology accelerator. But, explained Jacobsen, it’s not all about one-way traffic. Future missions will be expanded in focus to try and bring together and match up UK companies with European counterparts to try and stimulate joint trading links and export activity, potentially seeking to encourage trading more widely beyond Europe in other international markets. The increased pace and regularity of these European trade missions chimes well with the UK government’s desire to get British businesses exporting – the March 2015 Budget gave an extra £7.5m to the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) body to help businesses wanting to export to China. Exporters’ eyes will now be focused on the forthcoming Budget this month to see if more government funding will be forthcoming.
Jacobsen said: “I have been working with the various government economic development teams in the central European countries for some years, and the time is right to change the focus from just in-country activity to reach out via a series of intensive trade missions to the UK to foster trade and investment. “I am looking to make these missions a really productive two-way street through networking activities that can bring together potential trading partners here in the UK and, ideally, create a stepping stone to other markets and wider opportunities through links with relevant business organisations, government bodies and investors. “In reality, many of the delegates coming to the UK will be early stage, but as we have seen with a pilot trade mission from Poland, there was strong interest from UK investors, potential co-working partners and retail buyers, and I am keen to make these visits work harder for delegates while also benefiting UK based businesses looking for export links.” Read more about trade missions:
- UK’s first Intellectual Property trade mission to China has begun
- Boris Johnson lauds fintech sector as he heads trade delegation to Asia
- How to prepare for a trade mission
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