Export growth plan to help Midlands business build back better

A package of measures, including additional funding to help businesses in the Midlands recover and grow from the impact of coronavirus, has been announced by the Government.

Graham Stuart
Graham Stuart

The new export growth plan includes 22 new international trade advisors, who will provide direct support to small businesses in the so-called Midlands Engine, supplementing the existing support provided to businesses across the UK.

A pilot Export Academy scheme has also been introduced to support smaller businesses in the region.

The academy will deliver a series of activities that will build the capabilities of smaller businesses, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade.

In addition, a £6.3 million Midlands Internationalisation Fund for small businesses, which will help up to 1,250 businesses in the Midlands Engine grow their overseas trading and maximise their profits from 2020-2023.

Minister for Exports Graham Stuart 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 advisors and the establishment of the Export Academy to help businesses build back better.

'Reap the benefits'

“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.”

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry, a Staffordshire businessman, said: "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 Advisors 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.

"FSB will work with the Government to help make this happen.

"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."

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