October 18, 2013
7,000 UK SMEs will benefit from a new government programme to help them attract overseas customers through the internet.
And business secretary Vince Cable has also announced that, for the first time, the UK will have an approved global network of business-to-business support to rival the world's best.
The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Grow Online, Expand Worldwide campaign will deliver training and advice to SMEs and provide funding to help improve their web capability over the next two years. By the end of 2014, UK SMEs will benefit from 40 approved support networks in UKTI top high growth markets, including China, India and the UAE.
Vince Cable said: "Britain's 220,000 online retailers export more than the rest of Europe's e-retailers combined, but other countries are catching up fast. UK companies need to stay ahead of the game and capitalise on the rapid growth of mobile technology and social media to find new international customers."
He said: "Britain has moved back up into fifth place in the IMF's worldwide ranking of exports of goods and services. UKTI's Grow Online, Expand Worldwide campaign will help even more businesses to tap into the global appetite for British goods and services."
The announcement comes in the same week that the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has called for more support for exporters at its annual International Trade Conference.
BCC director general, John Longworth said: "We need a direct focus on export support if we are to be amongst the best in the world. The prime minister has committed to increase UK exports to one trillion pounds a year by 2020. Exports will need to increase at 9% compound year on year, every year. The government spends 25 times as much of taxpayers' money on overseas aid as it does on export support – grossly underfunded by comparison with competitor nations."
This week's BCC/DHL report on the health of the UK export market reveals that 69% of exporters expect their turnover to improve this quarter – the highest number since 2007.