All change at UKTI?
UKTI (United Kingdom Trade and Industry), the government body tasked with boosting UK exports by helping UK businesses expand overseas, is under review. In 2010, the government set UKTI a target of doubling exports to £1 trillion by the end of the decade and allocated an increased budget to help in achieving this. Five years later, it increasingly looks as though this target will be far beyond reach and questions are being asked about the effectiveness of UKTI in raising the value of Britain’s exports.
In the past few years, export levels have grown at a rate of about 3.5% per annum and an Office for Budget Responsibility forecast suggests that exports are more likely to increase 33% over the 10 year period to £630 billion – some way off the £1 trillion target.
As a result, calls have been made to halve UKTI’s budget to £265 million and completely overhaul the organisation.
Given that more and more small businesses are looking to export as part of their plans for growth, the question remains as to how best to help them bring their products, technology and services to foreign markets.
One of a number of recommendations is that such businesses should be asked what help they want, particularly in relation to help with useful contacts and introductions. It has been suggested that this information should be fed back to overseas posts for action to be taken if possible. But will this work? Trusted contacts and business relationships usually take many months and years to develop, as well as detailed knowledge of the industry area. In addition, local knowledge of business practice and potential cultural barriers is also required. It’s hard to see how this can be developed overnight just by recruiting more field workers. UKTI may be a top heavy organisation and streamlining its HQ may well be long overdue, but there must at least be some certainty that alternative methods of working will provide the desired result.
Working in collaboration with local Chambers of Commerce seems like a good idea however, as they could provide access to a network of small and medium sized businesses who could well be encouraged to look to the global market. It could also mean potential exporters can be linked quickly and easily to export facilitators, like Kazopp, who have a well established network of trusted contacts ready to do business with, as well as the knowledge you need to successfully bring their offering to an overseas market.
If your business is interested in expanding to new markets, get in touch and we will be happy to discuss whether we are able to fast track your export story.