LORD GREEN VISITS SURREY TO ENCOURAGE SOUTH EAST COMPANIES TO "EXPORT FOR GROWTH"

16 January 2012

The Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green, has renewed the call for the whole business community, including banks, accountancy and legal firms, trade networks and other business intermediaries, to support the government in persuading more firms to export their goods and services.

The Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green, has renewed the call for the whole business community, including banks, accountancy and legal firms, trade networks and other business intermediaries, to support the government in persuading more firms to export their goods and services.

Lord Green was speaking at the South East regional National Challenge: Exporting for Growth event, organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and sponsored by HSBC and PwC, at Mercedes-Benz World in Weybridge, Surrey.

This event is part of a long-term initiative to encourage professional organisations to play their part in increasing the number of SME exporters from around 20 per cent to 25 per cent, in line with European competitors.

Lord Green also urged South East companies to compete for the "Exporting for Growth" prize. The competition aims to encourage more small businesses to take their products to overseas markets by offering a comprehensive package of support to the company with the best export idea. The regional winner will receive UKTI services worth £5,000 and three grants for overseas travel to their target markets, plus expert business knowledge and insight from competition sponsors HSBC and PwC. SMEs have until Monday 31 January to submit their entries.

Lord Green said: "We want to attract an additional 100,000 SMEs into international trade. There are world-class businesses out there who could be exporting, and others who could be spreading their wings further. This is truly a national challenge - it can't be done by government alone, and the other key contributors, both well represented here today, are the business intermediaries, the trusted advisers and supporters of SMEs, who can encourage them to look at opportunities in emerging markets, for example, and of course the companies themselves.

"This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, but together we can do it - and if we care about growth and job creation, we have to."

Lewis Scott, Regional Director UKTI South East, said: "The South East is already the UK's biggest exporting region, but more companies - particularly smaller ones - should be taking up the challenge of international trade, taking advantage of its benefits and the business opportunities that exist, especially in emerging markets. In the South East, UKTI welcomes the support of all in the business community in encouraging an export drive for growth.

"And if you are a company with an export idea that you believe is particularly strong and innovative, why not enter it for the Exporting for Growth Prize. It doesn't matter if you are a relatively inexperienced exporter or completely new to exporting. Just tell us - in 200 words - what your idea is, why it's workable, and why now is the best time to take it to market."

Ian Tandy, HSBC's Regional Commercial Director, South and East, added: "With the UK economy still providing quite a challenging trading environment, now is a great time for SMEs to explore the possibility of exporting. Working with the right partners and getting the right support gives SMEs the best chance of successful growth. HSBC and other professional advisers are here to help SMEs overcome those challenges, create opportunities and reap the rewards of making their growth aspirations a reality."

John Minards, PwC South East Regional Chair, said: "I am delighted that PwC is able to support this major new programme to help Britain's SME sector export for growth. We know that SMEs provide a significant growth opportunity but that the real opportunity lies in overseas markets and that's why we're so focused on helping UK companies to access those markets."

Around 200 delegates attended the event, with representatives from trade associations, banks, accountancy and legal firms, Local Enterprise Partnerships, chambers of commerce, regional and private sector networks, as well as companies.

 
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