The Lead Partner for the SIE project, Kent County Council (KCC), has been piloting a voucher scheme to provide some extra resource for SMEs in Kent to help with exporting.
The 'Kent Export Manager Pilot Scheme' (KEMPS) is being testing in Kent as part of the second phase of the SME Internationalisation Exchange SIE project. The idea was inspired by schemes in other partner regions during the study visits which took place under SIE Phase 1. In particular, colleagues in Cantabria, Spain and Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France, shared about their experience of providing external expertise and placing specialists within businesses to focus on developing international activities.
A SIE study in Kent had confirmed that SMEs often lack the internal capacity and resource to pursue export activity or to overcome some of the challenges that they face. KCC saw an opportunity to take some good practice from its partner regions and test a way to help companies with developing their export activity.
A total of 7 small businesses have now been selected as part of the pilot and the KEMPS voucher has enabled them to secure an extra pair of hands to focus on developing their export work.
Food company, Karimix, which produces a range of exotic sauces and marinades has made use of an export manager to make new contacts and send small orders to a range of new international markets.
Abbaltis, which supplies 'disease-state plasma' to the medical research industry has secured help through the scheme to develop its web presence for 2 target markets in Asia.
The other 5 companies are getting help with making sure that their international contract templates are robust, or that their marketing materials are translated and localised.
In addition to the dedicated help that the SMEs are receiving as part of the KEMPS pilot, they are also accessing wrap-around support from the main 'Kent International Business' programme partners to maximise the impact of their new activities.
You can also view our KEMPS overview video below: