By Daniel Hunter

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Santander UK have agreed to work in partnership to support ambitious UK based businesses to expand abroad.

The partnership between Santander and UKTI will help to break down some of the barriers that UK businesses can face when moving their business onto the world stage, by offering them access to expert support, financial and practical assistance and an unrivalled network of international contacts.

Santander, which was recently named ‘Best International Solutions provider’ in 2015 by Business Moneyfacts, will join forces with UKTI on a number of programmes including collaborative trade missions, roundtables and export initiatives to encourage UK SMEs to expand internationally.

Santander will provide on-the-ground expertise in countries where Santander has a presence such as Spain, Poland, Germany, Mexico and Brazil as well as in countries where the bank has international alliance partners, which currently includes China, India and the UAE.

Santander will also support UK businesses via an International Desk in each of the markets it operates in and a Trade Club. The Trade Club is an online community of verified Santander clients from around the world which removes some of the fear that companies typically experience when exporting to new markets, Club members can interact with other businesses both in the UK and overseas to establish import and export links, and to explore opportunities for growth.

In addition, the award winning Santander Trade Portal, which launched in November 2013, is a unique tool that helps to demystify the trade process by providing accessible information on market opportunities, tax and regulatory rules and the cost of shipping and foreign exchange. The Trade Portal won the award for ‘Best Innovation in the SME Finance Sector’ at the 2015 Business Moneyfacts awards, and has already provided support for over a million unique global visitors and over 40,000 from the UK alone. It is helping businesses to explore new markets, removing the fear and providing information to help them expand internationally.

Nathan Bostock, Chief Executive Officer at Santander, said: “We want to work closely with our clients to understand what their needs and aspirations are. We’re excited at Santander to be working with UKTI to be able to provide UK business leaders with all the expertise and assistance they need to facilitate their international expansion.

“Exporting is a key part of the success of the UK economy and Santander is committed to supporting international trade opportunities and helping UK companies grow and prosper.”

Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said: “I am delighted that UKTI and Santander are coming together in support of UK businesses. It is important that Government and Business work together to help smaller companies and medium-sized businesses to export. I look forward to the progress we will make together.”