To encourage more SMEs to export their goods and services; to demystify export information in the public domain & promote opportunities & business benefits.
Set up to demystify the business of ‘export’ and so ultimately improve the number of SMEs involved in exporting goods and services. Followed realisation that SMEs were totally ‘baffled’ and confused by the online/ offline information available. Aside from the government export service for individual business leads/enquiries there was no dedicated export themed events available for SMEs to find out more.
The 2 main partners, Surrey Chambers and EM3 LEP worked with other stakeholders to set up a series of low key, informal events to resolve the issues.
The practice achieves its objectives through a rolling programme of low key road shows, dedicated seminars/events aimed at SMEs throughout the north of Hampshire and its neighbouring county i.e. Surrey
Main Stakeholders: Surrey Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise3 (EM3) Local Enterprise Partnership and specialist export services stakeholders e.g. the Department of International Trade (DIT), Enterprise Europe Network (EEN), also with COBCDE Chamber in London and European Chamber of Commerce – all with a vested interest in engaging more clients.
Beneficiaries: Businesses in the region wanting to find out more about export opportunities and support available in an informal environment; whether export or further export is for them, how they go about it and the help available.

Resources needed

After the initial set up phase, programme funding for seminar venues & hospitality, a headcount resource to organise and publicise the seminars with minor marketing costs, additional help (all relatively minor costs) for seminars on the day. Follow up actioned by local stakeholders concerned

Evidence of success

Running ‘export’ events through a known intermediary, rather than the relevant government department led to more interest/attendees. Events used to demystify and discuss information in an informal setting.
Effective, efficient way in an informal non-threatening environment for SMEs to find out more and encourage more interest and involvement in exporting goods and services. Increase in the number of referrals to the UKTI– governments export service at the time, improved quality of referrals etc

Difficulties encountered

Identifying resources/capacity to continue running the events after initial funding partners
Initial working with the UKTI to get what was needed, but now working.
Marketing, marketing and marketing! Getting SMEs along.

Potential for learning or transfer

A simple practice, simple events with a simple but interactive agenda, very easily transferable if partner own resources can be found to set up, promote and organise events. Payback comes from number and quality of referrals made to government export support as a result. (not currently quantified in the UK)
Learning from experience a check list of what works and what doesn’t work.
Project
Main institution
Surrey Chamber of Commerce
Location
Hampshire and Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Start Date
June 2015
End Date
Ongoing

Contact

Julia  Pearson Please login to contact the author.