Seven thousand UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from a new programme to help them attract overseas customers through the internet, Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce today.
Vince Cable will also announce that for the first time, the UK will have an approved global network of business-to-business support to rival the world's best. By the end of 2014 UK SMEs will benefit from 40 approved support networks in UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) top high growth markets including China, India and the UAE.
The 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. Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce the campaign in a speech today at a UKTI exporting conference. He will say:
"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.
"Supporting more small and medium sized businesses to export is a crucial part of the government's plan to rebalance our economy, create jobs and boost prosperity. Britain has moved back up into 5th 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."
Helen Dickinson, British Retail Consortium Director General, said:
"British retailers, large and small, are in a strong position to seize the opportunity the web based revolution has brought. Even the smallest retailers have a massive opportunity to expand their businesses through exporting to new markets. It's new programmes like 'Grow Online, Expand Worldwide', and support from the BRC and UKTI, that will help them achieve this."
UKTI's 'Grow Online, Expand Worldwide' campaign includes local support for:
– 4,000 aspiring web exporters through awareness raising sessions, a webinar campaign and international web workshops.
– 1,200 web export ready businesses through e-commerce masterclasses.
– 1,500 web exporters with bespoke one-to-one advice from experts, tailored website reviews and action planning to access web exporter vouchers – up to £3,000 matched funding.
– 600 companies from the UK retail sector to sell online by helping them to list their products on the world's leading online sales sites including Alibaba in China and Tejuri in the Gulf.
The government wants to make the UK the best place to start and grow a business. In the autumn it will launch a public campaign to celebrate GREAT British business success stories. The government wants to inspire other small businesses and point them towards the support that can help them grow. It will also launch a new strategy
for how the whole of government will back them. This will set out a range of measures to continue helping budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses succeed.