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Help for small businesses to start exporting

This week is Exporting Week, but many small and medium-sized firms lack awareness of available export support from organisations such as UK Trade and Investment and UK Export Finance to help them take advantage of exporting opportunities.

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This week is Exporting Week, but many small and medium-sized firms lack awareness of available export support from organisations such as UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and UK Export Finance (UKEF) to help them take advantage of exporting opportunities. Find out what help is available to you in this article. Exporting can offer small businesses big growth opportunities. A recent report from Barclays indicated that businesses generate an average growth of 30% after exporting for just two years. But many small businesses don't know where to begin. The announcement of extra help for businesses comes at a time when UKTI has been awarded £13 million to help thousands more UK firms export. The department offers discounts and subsidised initiatives to kick start businesses into new international markets, including: UK Export Finance UK Export Finance supports finance for export purposes that is not covered by the standard Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme. A recent House of Lords report revealed that only 21 firms received help from UKEF between March 2011 and August 2012, suggesting that not many businesses know about it. Funding is also available for first time exporters in the form of grants from UKTI. Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) There is money available for SMEs to attend trade shows overseas through the Tradeshow Access Programme. Firms can get grants ranging from £1,000 to £1,800 to attend six trade shows overseas. There is also support available for travel on overseas trade missions. Tailored market research Substantial discounts can be offered on UKTI's tailored market research, the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), which provides targeted market research to help businesses find those crucial first contacts overseas and to help them develop relationships in new, fast-growing markets. Over half of UKTI customers go on to win additional sales of £600,000 within two years when they use OMIS. Companies will receive bespoke answers to meet their business needs in new markets, access practical information on export topics, connect and engage with a range of exporters and explore the latest international opportunities for their business. Benefits of using UKTI services On average customers earn £100k in additional sales within 18 months after working with UKTI. Exporting makes firms more resilient (11.4%), productive (30%), competitive and innovative. 1,000 trade officers in almost 100 markets overseas, who can identify business opportunities around the world. They support businesses throughout the UK. UKTI can give advice on whether your firm is ready to export. If so, UKTI can help with an export plan, advise on grants for trade missions and set up meetings. Many of the UKTI's services are free, though some may incur a charge. Your local office should be able to provide more information on this. Want to know more? UKTI has 220 trade advisers in nine trade teams working locally to support businesses around the English regions. The devolved administrations have their own teams, delivering similar services to UKTI's. Find details of your local office here »

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