A bumper Exporting is GREAT Week has resulted in more businesses from the West Midlands region signalling their intention to explore export opportunities. Figures reveal that 194 companies from across the area attended seven events over the Exporting is GREAT Week (April 18-22). Of these, 71 sought support from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) for the first time – up almost a third from last year when Export Week in May 2015 attracted 131 companies from the area, which comprises the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

Christine Hamilton, interim director of UKTI West Midlands, said she was heartened by the increased numbers of businesses that are considering exporting and seeking support from the organisation.

She said:

“Exporting is GREAT Week was extremely busy for us, which is great news. Our trade advisers reported that many new companies in the region came out to seek new information and make contacts to explore business overseas, which is exactly what we need if we are to grow our economy and firms are to expand.

“The message is clear: the demand for British goods and services is huge across the globe and across all sectors and we can provide the expertise and support to help businesses access these new markets.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased to see how positive our regional businesses are about taking their brands abroad.”

Lorraine Duffy, of Tamworth-based clothing company Getting Dirty, who attended the flagship Global Opportunities Summit in Coventry, said:

“I was very much inspired by the Global Opportunities Summit, hearing first hand from successful exporters who started from humble beginnings with nothing but a dream and developed their passion (eventually) into globally recognised brands.

“With such a mountain of expert professional help out there with UKTI, who understand and can guide you through future hurdles, why would you not take the step to exporting?  It’s not as if you are going alone.”

Sophia Ferguson, of Herefordshire-based Tickle Tots, who has only just begun to export her reusable nappies, having sent a small batch of the custom-designed products to a store in Italy, is now setting her sights on exporting to the USA.

“I only started the business in July 2015 but it’s already going well and I’m getting great help from the international trade advisers,” she said. “My competitors are in the USA so that’s where I want to export to. I’m now receiving regular strategic support from an international trade adviser and hoping that I can start looking at the US market next year. I’ve had enquiries from Spain, France and Denmark.”