Guest blog from UKTI Open to Export
A new online service that helps small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to export was recently launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and hibu (formerly Yell).
The initiative was first announced by Prime Minister David Cameron in November last year, and gives small businesses seeking to export the opportunity to access practical advice and have their questions answered by professionals including UK trade officers in Embassies and High Commissions, prospective and existing exporters, lawyers, accountants and independent trade advisors.
We know from small businesses that they often struggle to find the information and contacts they need to take their business overseas. They can register on the site for free, connect and engage with the exporting community and access a customised store offering products and services that will help them trade abroad.
At its launch in October 2012, Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade & Investment, said: “Supporting more small and medium sized enterprises to export is a key part of the government's plan for growth.”
The Prime Minister outlined this as a national challenge last year, targeting a further 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and the doubling of export receipts to £1 trillion.
“Half of the UK's exports, by value, already come from SMEs. Open to Export will provide practical assistance, advice and support to other businesses looking to make that crucial first step to sell into foreign markets.”
Almost 11,500 unique users per month are already using the site, with access to more than 2,000 pieces of content and event information from 70 different organisations. Topics covered online range from managing international payments and employment visas, to choosing a translation provider and the benefits of attending global conferences.
Open to Export was successfully trialled in the summer and some examples of companies already using the service include Jackie Hutchings, Marketing Director of Wiltshire start-up Zlimm123, who found help in taking her online slimming programme to the US. Julian Hucker, CEO of Nottingham based Esendex, a leading provider of Business SMS services and platforms now knows the intricacies of opening a business bank account in German…..while Sally Guyer of the Cambridge Raincoat is now exploring the different types of funding available to help her sell her UK manufactured raincoats overseas.
Exports are vital for the country's economic recovery. The latest research shows that firms that export generate an average growth of 30 per cent after exporting for just two years.
We therefore encourage you to take a look at www.opentoexport.com and see how the service can help you take your business further today.