By Daniel Hunter

UK Trade & Investment and Barclays have joined forces to help Britain’s small businesses grow by offering export advice.

It comes as a new report from Barclays says businesses generate an average growth of 30 per cent after exporting for just two years.

The partnership will help deliver a co-ordinated approach to help businesses trade abroad — from securing their first international customer to setting up an overseas operation.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said:

“Boosting the UK's export performance and supporting the growth of small and medium sized enterprises are key parts of our plan for growth that will help us secure a stronger, more balanced and resilient economy. The Government wants to see a further 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and is committed to helping businesses of all sizes take their products and services to new markets overseas.

"The new partnership between Barclays and UKTI will play an important role in helping British products and services find new markets overseas. I look forward to seeing this joint venture deliver real results."

Steve Cooper, Vice Chairman of Barclays Business Banking said:

“Winning business overseas is a vitally important way for SMEs to prosper and help grow our way out of recession. Our new research shows that in the challenging domestic market, exporting provides attractive new revenue growth of up to a third, boosting the bottom line and supporting job creation.

“We are committed to helping UK SMEs take that step to winning new trade around the world, and have experts in place across the globe ready to lend their support and advice.”

Barclays’ research comes a week after UK Trade & Investment was awarded £13 million to help thousands more UK firms export. The department offers discounts and subsidised initiatives to kick start businesses into new international markets. These include:

Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP)

There will be more money available for SMEs to attend trade shows overseas through expanding the Tradeshow Access Programme. Firms can get grants ranging from £1,000 to £1,800 to attend six trade shows overseas.

Tailored Market Research

Substantial discounts will be offered on UKTI’s tailored market research, the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), which provides targeted market research to help businesses find those crucial first contacts overseas and to help them develop relationships in new, fast-growing markets. Over half of UKTI customers go on to win additional sales of £600,000 within two years when they use OMIS.

Travel support

There will also be increased support available for travel on overseas trade missions.

The discounts have been made available through a £13 million boost from the government and made possible by under spend from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ annual budget for 2011/12.

UK Trade & Investment is preparing to host ‘Export Week’ from 12-16 November, where there will be over one hundred events up and down the UK designed to reach out to SMEs. Export Week events meet the needs of every type of exporter, new or existing, from Seminars to Workshops, Road Shows to 1-2-1 sessions, and Webinars to Conferences. There will also be five ‘Explore Export’ events where UK Trade & Investment experts from 70 overseas markets will be on hand to provide bespoke advice about trading both with our traditional partners and with high-growth markets.

UKTI factfile

· On average customers earn £100k in additional sales within 18 months after working with UKTI.

· Exporting makes firms more resilient (11.4%), productive (productivity up by a third in first year alone), competitive and innovative.

· UKTI has 220 trade advisers in 9 trade teams working locally to support businesses around the English regions. The devolved administrations have their own teams, delivering services analogous to UKTI’s.

· Overseas we have 1,000 trade officers in almost 100 markets overseas, who can identify business opportunities around the world. They support businesses throughout the UK.

· UKTI can give advice on whether a firm is ready to export. If so, UKTI can help with an export plan, counsel on the right markets and the right people to deal with in those markets, advise on grants for trade missions or overseas trade fairs, set up meetings, and generally help to make business happen.

· Our High Value Opportunities programme adopts a systematic approach to understanding early in the life cycle of major projects overseas how UK companies can engage, bring maximum UK influence at the right time and support supply chain engagement. We follow the money by focusing on the procurement milestones for each project.

· UK Export Finance (previously ECGD) has a range of schemes to help exporters to obtain funding relevant to their export activity:

· insuring UK exporters against non-payment by their overseas buyers;

· helping overseas buyers to purchase goods and/or services from UK exporters by guaranteeing bank loans to finance those purchases;

· sharing credit risks with banks in order to assist exporters in the raising of tender and contract bonds, in accessing pre- and post-shipment working capital finance and in securing confirmations of letters of credit;

· insuring UK investors in overseas markets against political risks.

Many of UK Export Finance’s products and services are specifically aimed to help small- and medium-sized businesses.

UKTI:

· helped 26,640 businesses in the last 12 months, 90% of them SMEs;

· helped businesses generate over £30 billion in additional sales;

· helped firms create 36,000 new jobs and secure a further 68,500 with its trade support activities;

· supported over £800m of major project wins;

· helped secure £8 billion of defence and security exports.


· Our services are rated highly by over ¾ of customers.

· Most customers report improved business performance (54%); significant business benefits from working with UKTI (71%).

. 15% of UKTI clients have increased their business R&D activity as a result of the support received.

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