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Autumn Statement: 'First Time Exporters' package for UKTI announced

BritCham / CBBC
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In his Autumn Statement on 3 December 2014, the Chancellor announced a new package of support to help small and medium-sized UK businesses to take their first steps into exporting.
The annual £20 million package, which will support over 10,000 new exporters in 2015-16, includes:
  • A new incubator service to prepare first-time exporters for exporting and to encourage them to consider international trade as an integral part of their business planning and future success. The incubators will take the form of practical and highly-interactive workshops.
  • Insight visits taking small and medium-sized businesses who are new to exporting to local and accessible markets and introducing them to local support (e.g. commercial staff in embassies, local business support organisations).
  • New grant funding to help them prepare and take their first steps as exporters, by contributing to the initial costs that often deter potential exporters.
  • Digital exporting support. Digital advisors will provide face-to-face guidance and opportunities to UK exporters on how to make online selling part of their business success.
  • The package will be delivered both through a strengthened regional delivery arm in the form of a new team of International Trade Advisors for first-time exporters, and through innovative partnerships with UK banks, consultancies and legal firms, reaching their tens of thousands of small and medium-sized clients.

In addition:

  • Support to first-time exporters at international trade fairs will be taken to another level, providing them with a one-stop shop for cost-saving and practical support before, at and after events.
  • This package will ensure that first-time exporters are at the heart of our promotion of British business at the Milan Expo 2015.
Dominic Jermey, chief executive of UKTI, said: “This package is great news for the companies UKTI supports. This will mean we can continue to strengthen support to all types of exporters, large or small, to realise the UK’s export ambitions across the globe. 
“The Government has shown its support and commitment to exporters time and again. It has repeatedly provided funding to enhance support to exporters, focusing on the highest-value trade opportunities and strengthening engagement with all types of businesses. 
“We need to do more for first-time exporters, to reap more benefits from trade-driven productivity growth. This package will contribute to the global ambitions of the thousands of companies UKTI works with.”
First-time exporters face several barriers to trade such as lack of access to information and overseas buyers having preference for local suppliers. Government support is needed to overcome these barriers by, for example, showcasing company products and opening doors which would otherwise be closed.
While the economic environment remains challenging, over the last four years UKTI has helped almost 48,000 UK companies to export. 
This is the first time that UKTI has looked at first-time exporters as a particular group. Services that it already provides that reflect the particular needs of these exporters and where further services and support are needed have been identified and developed. This notably includes the new incubator service and the new grant funding.
Trade Minister Lord Livingston said: “Companies often need help to get started on their export journey. This new money will enable UKTI to focus on first-time exporters, helping them overcome the barriers they face through specialist regional trade advisors, interactive workshops, grants and much more.”
More details on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement can be found here.
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