Working in partnership with Trade Associations to get more SMEs exporting.
I am delighted to announce today 99 UKTI Trade Challenge Partners have committed to working in partnership with UKTI to support more SMEs to export. My purpose as Managing Director for Trade Development in UKTI is to get more UK SMEs doing business overseas and to support those that do export, to increase their volume of international trade – and our Trade Challenge Partner initiative is an important part of this work.
The UKTI Trade Challenge Partners are drawn from Trade Associations and other membership organisations focused on overseas trade. They represent virtually all sectors of the UK economy and have extensive knowledge of their industry. The collective membership of these Partners is around 70,000, and on average they estimate that 40% of their Members are already doing business internationally and a further 20% have the potential to do so – equivalent to 14,500 more UK exporters.
In addition to the activities these Partners already run, they have made a range of commitments in support of driving UK exports, for example: proactively supporting UKTI’s Business Opportunities service; interacting with UK exporters on Open to Export and supporting UKTI’s webinar programme (due to be launched soon). Many of these Partners also support UK SMEs through the delivery of UKTI’s overseas trade shows, events and missions programmes – these are vital ways in which we help SMEs overseas.
Currently only 23% UK SMEs export*. Research with UKTI’s customers has shown that exporting benefits companies in many ways: from increased sales growth and profitability to more resilience and credibility.
Look out for my next blog which will focus on ways UKTI is improving existing services and developing new ones in support of the National Challenge to increase the number of SMEs exporting.
* according to the Small Business Survey (source: BIS Economics Paper No.17).