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UKTI launch online export service for small businesses

posted 31 Oct 2012, 02:15 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Mar 2013, 09:40 ]
Today a free online service has been launched to provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with information, advice and guidance on exporting overseas.

The service ‘Open to Export’ is launched by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in partnership with hibu plc (formerly Yell Group).

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green 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."

Richard Hanscott, Chief Executive Officer of hibu in the UK, said: “We have a long established relationship with the SME community and UKTI research tells us that 33% of businesses report that lack of contacts is a barrier to export. hibu’s digital strategy is to help communities thrive and the Open to Export site is already achieving this by giving small businesses access to the knowledge and advice necessary to grow with confidence outside the UK.”

John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “Hearing how one firm succeeded in overcoming this piece of regulation or that market access challenge could be just the light bulb moment needed for another firm to make the leap into selling, and winning overseas.”

The launch of the website comes just over a year after the Prime Minister set a national challenge to raise the number of small businesses that export from one in five to one in four. By increasing the number of companies who export by roughly a quarter, about £36 billion could be added to the UK economy.

The Open to Export Service is a new, free online community that gives small businesses the guidance and in-depth information they need to expand their business abroad. Companies will receive bespoke answers to meet their business needs in new markets, access practical information on export topics, connect and engage with a range of exporters and explore the latest international opportunities for their business. In addition to accessing government advice, through international trade advisors based at British embassies and high commissions, companies can also receive support from existing and prospective exporters, lawyers, accountants and independent trade advisors.

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. 

Alongside Opentoexport.com, the government has also recently announced £9 million worth of support to help boost trade opportunities for SME businesses and from 12 November is launching this year’s national Export Week campaign.

Source: UKTI