Export Week - which took place 11-15 November - was a hugely successful week for the UKTI East team, as well as for our partners and businesses across the region.Reflecting on the size and scale of the week (and recalling that this time last Friday I was part way through a marathon round trip crossing five of the six counties on the patch) the coverage we achieved would not have been possible without the involvement of our partners from across the region who helped organise and host many of the events – from Chambers of Commerce like Bedfordshire to businesses like Claridon. We visited DP World, in an excellent joint event with Essex Chambers, just a few days after its formal opening. Menta, the Suffolk Enterprise Agency, was our partner for a sellout event on the theme of export readiness and the team also partnered with Santander and the Enterprise Europe Network, meeting businesses in Clacton, Ipswich and Rickmansworth. Eight events with 450 delegates was a first-rate result and a reflection of the rising level of interest in international trade across the region.
Our highlight of the week was Explore Export held at Newmarket Racecourse on Thursday. This was a fantastic location to host the week’s flagship event, and the wide open gallery overlooking the course was filled with the buzz and energy generated by over 1,000 face-to-face meetings as 250 businesses met for speed-dating style advice sessions with 60 market and service experts from UK Embassies around the world. We were joined by outgoing Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green on his final regional visit and our own video of the day with contributions from both advisors and businesses is on our YouTube channel.
One particularly enjoyable pause for breath was a lunchtime event, with technology entrepreneur and UKTI Business Ambassador Mike Lynch as our keynote speaker, to celebrate the achievements of the region’s Queen’s Award for International Trade winners. The East really does have a good track record when it comes to these Awards and it was a privilege to hear a group of companies of this quality including Astro Lighting, serial winner Plant Parts Ltd and tech company Real VNC engaged and sharing experience. This year was our best yet, with 19 of the 116 national winners coming from the region, building on the 17 awards received last year. Queen’s Awards winners lead the way in showcasing the benefits of international trade to encourage more of the region’s businesses to grow through exports. We’re immensely proud that the East has such a strong pedigree and were delighted to hear that UKTI has plenty to offer even companies doing as well internationally as our 2012 and 2013 QA winners.
UKTI’s goal now is to keep up the momentum generated by all the discussions, meetings and seminars. What happens in Export Week emphatically does not stay in Export Week, and our International Trade Advisors will be following up to ensure businesses across the region are in the best shape to make a success of their exporting plans.
There will be more events as we head into 2014 so I would urge you to keep visiting the UKTI East website , follow us on Twitter and also join our LinkedIn group where you can get immediate advice on a range of exporting issues.
Recent research has shown that around 30% of small and medium sized enterprises see a positive impact on their bottom line within just six months of expanding into international markets, and all businesses can expect an average growth of 30% cent within two years of starting to export regardless of their size
The week also saw the launch of our national advertising campaign ‘Exporting is GREAT’ so you should be seeing even more reasons why there really has never been a better time to consider doing business overseas. The team here are on call to provide advice and guidance, so what are you waiting for?!