Signs the economic recovery is underway are everywhere – companies across the West Midlands are growing, employing more people and investing in skills. In this region, much of this recovery is driven by exports and we can be very proud of the fact that the West Midlands leads the field in international trade. From knitwear and online address management systems, to diggers and cider, from forged grates and milking machines to flight documentation and cars – the array of West Midlands businesses now trading overseas is impressive in its breadth and diversity.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a great deal more potential for the region to grow through exports.
That’s why UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is holding its fourth Export Week (7-11 April). Around 650 people have already signed up to attend the seminars, master classes, one-to-one meetings, workshops and networking events which have been designed to inform and inspire businesses to think about exporting. Whether you are a novice, an experienced exporter, or somewhere in between, we can help you grow your business through exports.
We know there are lots of barriers to exporting – lack of time and our natural tendency to stick with the familiar – being perhaps chief among them. For many firms, the daily effort to deliver against orders, recruit new people and make a business more efficient fills much of the time available. As a result, it’s easy to become inward focused rather than looking out at the many opportunities for growth that exist around the world.
The very essence of Export Week is to encourage the region’s businesses to consider their overseas potential. UKTI has a wealth of support on offer to ease the process and, most importantly, an experienced team of local export advisers to help. Firms will get advice and support to make the most of what they’re already doing, identify the right new markets and how best to access them. I hope our programme of events will give you the inspiration you need to take some time to look outwards.
One of the key events during the week is Explore Support at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham on 8 April. Firms will be able to meet one-to-one with experts from a whole host of organisations which support business growth both domestically and internationally, such as: banks, accountants, logistic organisations, translation experts, business growth consultants and marketing specialists.
Another exciting opportunity is the ASEAN Roadshow at The ICC, Birmingham on 10 April. Here, companies will be able to gain in-market advice from senior UKTI diplomats with on-the-ground knowledge about the wealth of opportunities for West Midlands companies in Southeast Asia.
We also have events which pinpoint where future growth opportunities will be in the coming years, such as the ‘The Future of Staffordshire’ event at Keele Science Park on 10 April; and events which specialise in particular growth markets, including the ‘Baltic Markets’ event at Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on 10 April. There will also be networking events, such as the ‘Find it in Worcestershire’ event at Sixways Conference Centre, Worcester on 15 April – and a whole lot more.
If you are successful in the UK, there is no reason why you can’t sell abroad, if you do your research and plan properly. Come along to any of the events during Export Week and tell us how we can best help you. To find out what’s on and where go to: www.exportweek.ukti.gov.uk or contact UK Trade & Investment direct on 0845 074 3515.