UK: Accessing The Global Village - How UKTI Can Help You Get To Grips With Overseas Markets

Last Updated: 2 November 2012

With falling eurozone exports and the UK trade deficit at a 15-year high, now might be the time to go in search of new growth markets. But how do you start and where do you go for help?

With 2,400 staff and a presence in 96 countries, UKTI is the government department that provides guidance to businesses operating on the international stage or thinking about exporting for the first time. Its global network operates through embassies, consulates and high commissions. Here are some of the ways that UKTI can help your business grow.

Local international trade advice – UKTI has international trade teams in more than 40 offices around the country and sector specialists in every UK region providing support tailored to individual industries. They can advise on issues including financial subsidies, export documentation, contacts in overseas markets, overseas visits, e-commerce, export training, developing and implementing an international strategy and market research.

Passport to Export – This service assesses a company's readiness for international business and helps build international trade capacity. Over a 12-month period, companies receive up to 6 days of dedicated support from an international trade adviser, an in-depth capability assessment, face-to-face training from export professionals and assistance with developing an action plan. Passport can also help with market selection, market research and support for visits to potential markets.

Gateway to Global Growth – This 12-month programme of tailored strategic support aims to help experienced exporters grow their businesses overseas. Guidance and mentoring from export professionals is intended to help businesses maximise their opportunities, reduce risk and overcome barriers in new and challenging markets.

Export Marketing Research Scheme – UKTI can help with market research on the main aspects of any major export venture, including market selection, size and segmentation, regulations and legislation, customer needs and attitudes, distribution channels, trends and competitor activity, and strategy and performance. SMEs may be eligible for a grant of up to 50% of market research project costs.

Export Communications Review – These reviews help businesses maximise the effectiveness of their communications with overseas customers by looking at areas such as company websites, company literature, language capabilities, cultural awareness and preparation for trade shows.

Overseas Market Introduction Service – A flexible business tool using the expertise of UKTI's trade teams located in UK embassies, consulates and high commissions around the world. Teams can provide market knowledge, research, and political and commercial contacts, as well as help with launch events and seminars.

Trade fairs and exhibitions – UKTI's Tradeshow Access Programme provides eligible businesses with grant support to attend trade shows overseas.

Business opportunity alerts – A free service that provides more than 400 sales leads in over 100 markets every month, including public sector opportunities and multilateral aid agency tenders.

Aid-funded business – Multilateral agencies, such as the UN and World Bank, spend around US$60bn every year on everything from tents to telecommunications. UKTI can help businesses tap into procurement opportunities.

Overseas business risks – The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides regular assessments of political and economic factors in key emerging markets. Their reports are aimed at helping UK businesses to identify and pursue new opportunities and manage risk.

B2B support network – Supporting investors who are setting up in the UK and UK companies doing business overseas by promoting closer working relationships between the Government and the private sector.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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