As part of the SME Internationalisation (SIE) project, Kent County Council has been working with local business support organisations to develop an 'Export Pathway' programme to help SMEs with all aspects of international trade.
The programme was inspired by the 'Parcours de l'Export' seen in Nouvelle-Aquitaine during a SIE project study visit. The 'Chambre de Commerce International' has developed a robust approach to helping firms in the region with all stages of exporting from developing a strategy and identifying target markets to finding customers and fulfilling orders. While the Chamber provides much of the associated support to businesses itself, it works closely with other organisations which help businesses from the region. The 'Parcours' ensures that companies know who can help with what at every stage of their export journey.
Kent County Council and its local stakeholders immediately saw the benefit of this approach and decided to develop something similar as part of SIE Phase 2. Businesses in Kent had sometimes found the export-support landscape confusing, so SIE presented an opportunity to simplify things by developing an Export Pathway for Kent.
Services were mapped and then ordered into a Pathway approach to help businesses identify the right support at the right time and to enable the different business support providers to be able to work more closely together to provide the right help to individual companies.