A new fund worth £6.3 million has been launched today alongside other business support aimed at helping more than 1,000 Midlands businesses boost their overseas trade.
Called the Export Growth Plan, it comprises the Midlands Internationalisation Fund which will help up to 1,250 businesses in the Midlands Engine grow their overseas trading between now and 2023.
There will also be 22 new international trade advisers who will provide direct support to small businesses in the Midlands while a new Export Academy will support small businesses beginning their exporting journey by delivering a series of activities aimed at building their capabilities.
There will also be ten new overseas champions across the world to promote trade and investment for the Midlands.
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Minister for exports Graham Stuart MP said: “The Government is negotiating trade deals around the world and we are determined to help UK businesses take advantage of the markets we are opening.
“So, as part of the recovery from coronavirus, I am delighted to announce this funding and support which will be invaluable to businesses looking to begin or continue their exporting journeys.
“In 2019, we overtook France to become the world’s fifth largest exporter and this package is a statement of our confidence in UK companies to grow the UK as an exporting superpower.
“The package will ensure businesses are supported from the start, with more funding, more trade advisers and the establishment of the Export Academy to help businesses build back better.
“As we continue to negotiate improved trading terms with leading countries around the world, it is important to ensure every business can reap the benefits of our free trade agreements.”
Mike Cherry, national chairman of trade body the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “We welcome these new funds and resources which come at a critical time for small firms who are looking to either expand or begin their trading journeys.
“It’s vital that these new international trade advisers are tasked with focusing small and micro businesses, not just medium-sized ones.
“The smallest businesses often simply don’t have the same logistical financial means and can be overlooked in favour of firms with louder voices and more resources.
“By supporting small firms to trade, it means that many businesses will be able to look ahead with confidence to the new trading landscape that awaits us in the coming months.”