If you ask any of the UKTI Regional Directors, they’ll say it’s ‘Export Week’ every week in the Regions. However, what was different about this one was the launch of the ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign.
We gathered in Newcastle on Sunday, for the launch event to see the world renowned GREAT campaign backing real time export opportunities. These are opportunities that are available every day, in every country, that businesses can apply for online.
Monday saw the GREAT unveil of the ‘Export Hub’ (left) - a mobile event space which will travel the length and breadth of the UK as part of a year-long Exporting is GREAT roadshow, giving face-to-face assistance and using the latest technology to connect these businesses with live export opportunities. Look out for the Export Hub throughout the English regions this year.
Experiencing the Export Hub was particularly important for me, because London was going to be its first stop! And yes, like the Tardis, it is bigger on the inside. My team were going live with the Export Hub on Tuesday, at the Heathrow Business Summit. And yes, it is impressive, both outside and in.
On Tuesday, we had a number of events happening simultaneously. My Deputy Regional Director, Jo Freeman and International Trade Advisers (ITAs) were at the Heathrow Business Summit. They delivered export advice and seminars on the support available to businesses, whilst 200 SMEs were pitching for supply chain opportunities at Heathrow. Over in central London, I welcomed 90 Export Experts (Commercial Officers and Partners from over 60 countries, together with London International Trade Advisers); who were gearing up to talk to businesses, in what is effectively a massive speed dating day for those seeking growth.
The ‘ExploreExport’ events were on tour throughout the UK during Export Week. In London alone, we hit a record 1100 business meetings in one day, beating our record of 1000 meetings held last year. Companies from London and the South East Regions had face-to-face meetings with experts from around the world. They were able to navigate the room, and the world, in a single day. Many of the experts I spoke to during the day were being rapidly booked up for the last remaining appointments by the queuing companies outside the main room. I’m amazed by the teams that organise these events and by the dedication of my staff to making this happen smoothly. They’re just brilliant and the feedback from companies reflects this.
Our partners were there too, sharing the latest advice on Export Controls , how to access real time Export Opportunities and future events that will attract overseas buyers to the UK such as the International Festival of Business 2016.
On Wednesday, I was off to Heathrow for a cup of tea at the Export Café in Heathrow Terminal 5. Heathrow are celebrating the fantastic range of products that are exported from the UK, with a unique installation. This opened on the 11th November, showcasing some of the best exports from around the country.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Jonathan Jones, who exports Tregothnan Tea. That’s Jonathan holding the big fish in the picture above. Did you know we export 46,000 tonnes of fresh salmon via Heathrow? That’s the equivalent of 230 Blue Whales! I was really pleased to see Fever Tree Premium Tonic Water, The London Deli Company, Teapigs and Halycon Days, amongst others in the showcase. It struck me you had the makings of a rather good afternoon tea here, including the crockery.
Thursday, we had the ‘Explore your Export Potential’ event; practical steps for first time exporters engaging with overseas markets for the first time. 85% of companies we help, tell us that exporting leads to a level of growth otherwise not possible. Well, that’s why we run workshops on examining the export opportunity, how to get started and freeing up your resources to maximise profit.
Finally, Friday 13th, was not unlucky for the companies attending the Japan Opportunities event. We looked at the likely impacts a free trade agreement will deliver to identify potential export opportunities.
And so, we come to the end of another GREAT Week. As I said at the beginning, every week is Export Week in the regions. Please do get in touch with the London Team to find out what’s happening this week and what export opportunities are out there for you.
Director, UKTI London