4 December, 2007 – North West goes global with support for exporters from NWDA and UKTI
There will be greater opportunities for companies in the North West to increase their overseas trade this year with help from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), supported by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
The NWDA has announced funding worth £4.9 million over the next three years to continue to back UKTI North West as it helps the region’s businesses compete on the global stage.
The funding will provide enlarged trade support to help businesses in the Northwest to trade internationally and will form one of the major delivery projects of the Northwest Internationalisation Strategy which will be launched in 2008.
UK Trade & Investment in the North West is a key contributor to achieving the vision for economic growth set out in UKTI’s 5 Year Strategy and the Northwest Development Agency’s Regional Economic Strategy (RES).
This additional support will dovetail existing UKTI trade programmes with the specific aim of focusing on the regions priority sectors identified in the RES.
Last year the region increased its exports by 24% to an all time high of £24 billion, and UKTI hope to help North West companies maintain that growth with a range of services to help everyone from new and inexperienced exporters to high growth research and development companies.
Research commissioned by UKTI shows that companies who export tend to have higher productivity and innovation levels than non-exporters, and are 11% more likely to survive in the long term.
On average firms new to international trade experience a 34% increase in productivity during the year they start exporting.
Clive Drinkwater, UKTI International Trade Director for the North West, says: "We are delighted to have such robust support from our partners in the Northwest Regional Development Agency, which is helping us to provide a truly first class service to North West businesses and ensure that the region remains at the forefront of British exporting excellence.
"In recent years the North West has been growing faster than England as a whole and has climbed from seventh to third place in terms of export activity, and we need to make sure we are in a position to capitalise upon this growth by raising the standard of international trade support and improving the competitiveness of our companies in the global market.
In April this year ChamberLink (subsequently re-name Business Support Solutions), on behalf of the Chambers of Commerce North West (CCNW), was awarded the UKTI contract to provide international trade support across the region.
Mark Hughes, Executive Director for Enterprise & Skills for the NWDA, said: "We need more Northwest business to compete on the global stage and grow their operations to help grow the region’s economy.
"This project will work closely with the regional cluster organisations, particularly on supporting sector missions and will also work closely with Business Link Northwest as the region’s gateway to business support."
A team of International Trade Advisers (ITAs) are available to give professional help with all aspects of international trade, and each ITA has responsibility for a specialist sector so that they can offer greater opportunities to businesses by developing close links with appropriate partner organisations and integrating with Regional Cluster Organisations and International Sector Groups.
Popular schemes such as Passport to Export, the flagship programme for new and inexperienced exporters, the Export Market Research Service (EMRS), Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) and Export Communications Reviews (ECR) will continue to be available.
The NWDA funding will also continue to support the programme of International Meet the Buyer activities over the course of the next two and a half years. This innovative scheme has so far generated over £20 million worth of business for the region, reaching over 400 North West companies and over 200 foreign buyers.
In addition, UKTI are offering a comprehensive programme of overseas market visits and incoming trade delegations, as well as help with more ambitious projects such as setting up joint ventures with help from the Strategic Alliance Service (SAS), which was pioneered in Manchester and has recently grown to include all companies in the North West.
Clive adds: "Internationalisation already makes a major contribution to the North West economy, and continues to grow at a rate of 18% – 2% above the average for England. Over 7,000 companies in the region are regularly trading globally* and we want to increase that number even more.
"Firms that export have a relatively higher capacity to value, assimilate and apply new knowledge, with increasing foreign competition forcing firms to become more efficient and innovative, and UKTI North West are here to help businesses in the North West achieve their international ambitions."
Source: UKTI / NWDA press release