Exporting for Growth - We're all in it together
This was the message from both the Prime Minister and the Trade Minister Lord Green at a major Summit on exporting held in London last week.
Launching 'Exporting for Growth' in the UK, PM David Cameron, HSBC Chief Executive Brian Robertson and PWC Chair Ian Powell all spoke extremely supportively of boosting the UK's export platform. Nick Baird, UK Trade & Investment's Chief Executive launched some new initiatives including teaming up with founding Dragons' Den panellist Doug Richard and Yell to get 3,500 businesses into workshops all over the country to ensure they are able to exploit the global opportunities offered by the internet.
The PM's message was clear - we need to excel in trade if we are to grow the UK economy at a time when global economies are under huge pressures. The challenge is to get more SME's exporting and to do so, there needs to be greater engagement between the public and private sectors in supporting and developing our exporters.
Here in the West Midlands we have a proud history of international trade. Many of our companies are already doing well in international markets with innovative, cutting edge products - but we need our existing exporters to export more; and more companies to start exporting.
At the Summit there were over 400 representatives from intermediary organisations - banks, lawyers, accountants, consultants, trade associations, Chambers of Commerce, etc discussing how we can do this.
Nationally a number of promising initiatives are already underway such as:
- HSBC has introduced a Business Thinking programme including support for Trade Missions and Mentoring for SME exporters working with UK Trade & Investment.
- Barclays is working with UK Trade & Investment, utilising their customer base and expertise in Sub Saharan Africa to promote exports.
- Lloyds is launching a programme of Export Mentors working with the Manufacturing Technologies Association and UK Trade & Investment.
But this sort of cooperation should not be limited to the "big boys" in London. There is much we can do at the local level. Here in the West Midlands we will be holding our own Exporting for Growth Summit on 28th February for regional SMEs and intermediaries.
In the meantime if anybody has any thoughts or ideas on how UK Trade & Investment in the West Midlands might work more with local partners to help exporters I would be delighted to hear from them!
If you'd like more details of the announcements made at the Exporting for Growth Summit last week, have a look at the website: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/pt_pt/uktihome/media/item/217400.html