By Claire West

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a Government department that generates £5 billion a year for the UK economy, has been shortlisted by its peers as one of the world’s top trade promotion bodies.

The shortlist was announced ahead of the International Trade Centre's Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Network Awards 2010 in Mexico City from 13 to 15 October.

UKTI will be competing against Australia and Hungary for the title of Best Trade Promotion Agency for a Developed Country.

More than 150 participants from 50 countries are expected to attend the awards ceremony, at which delegates will be looking at how to build export success, and how trade promotion agencies can help in a changing global environment.

UKTI Chief Executive Sir Andrew Cahn said:

“UKTI is delighted to be shortlisted for this award. My staff around the world have been listening to UK companies to find out what they need to succeed overseas. We have developed services that can make a difference. And we can assure precisely the value we add.

“Exporting is not only good for the UK economy, it can transform the business prospects of UK firms. By competing against the best in the world, firms increase productivity, resilience and competitiveness.

“Good, impartial advice is the bedrock when doing business overseas, and that’s why I urge firms to take up the help we offer and see how UKTI can transform your business.”

The awards recognise excellence in developing export initiatives, and UKTI’s development of a programme called “Gateway to Global Growth”, aimed at small and medium-sized firms with some export experience, was cited as the reason for its nomination.

In 2009/10, UKTI’s London regional International Trade Team provided assistance under the Gateway programme to 175 companies based in the capital.

Earlier this year, one of these companies, Fivium, was awarded a multi-million-dollar contract by the Australian Government in a market hotly contested by giant international corporations. The company is to work with the Australian Department of Health and Ageing to modernise the processes that support the country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Clayton Blake, Director at Fivium, said: “UKTI have been a critical component of our success in Australia. Their advice, support and contacts in the industry are second to none, and have fast-tracked our expansion into Australia. UKTI put us in touch with contacts we could never have reached on our own as an SME. They also worked tirelessly to help us showcase ourselves in Australia and give us a great launch platform to make the most of the opportunities available and maximise our potential.”

•In the last 12 months, UKTI helped around 25,000 businesses to generate £5 billion for the UK economy.

•For every £1 spent, UKTI generates £19 for the UK economy.

•UKTI has a network that extends to almost 100 overseas markets, which generate 98% of world GDP. It also has a presence in the UK regions and online at www.ukti.gov.uk

•Ninety per cent of UKTI’s customers are small and medium-sized businesses.

Gateway to Global Growth

Gateway to Global Growth is a service to experienced exporters which offers a 12-month programme of tailored strategic support to help companies grow overseas. The programme offers a strategic review with an experienced International Trade Adviser to assess trade development needs and construct a next-steps action plan; guidance and mentoring from export professionals; and support on specialist subjects. It also includes access to UK Trade & Investment’s international network; assistance with market research, language and culture, and networking opportunities to learn from other exporters.

Gateway helps a firm to: maximise opportunities and reduce the risk of entering new markets; overcome barriers to new and difficult markets; develop company skills and save time and money in achieving international trade goals.