Export champions share tricks of the trade


Experienced exporters from across Leeds City Region have joined forces through a new network to help more companies take advantage of opportunities in international markets.

The We are International Export Network brings together successful exporters from a wide range of sectors. They will be sharing the secrets of their success through a series of business networking events - starting on 12 March at DLA Piper, Leeds.

The Network is part of the We are International campaign – an initiative by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), UKTI and Chamber International, to add £2.6 billion to the Leeds City Region economy by providing more support for companies to do business overseas.

A member of the export champions network, David Repper, Managing Director of James H.Heal & Co Ltd, says: “Although often complex, businesses should not be frightened about embarking on an export campaign.”

Managing Director of Kemp’s Lighting in Leeds, Mark Kemp, another member of the network, says: “Exports have seriously helped us grow our business to the extent that we’re having to move to larger premises. Firms not selling abroad are missing out on a great opportunity.”

Businesses attending the first Export Network event on 12 March, will have the opportunity to quiz these and other experienced exporters about how they successfully broke into new markets. They will also hear from Managing Director of Radio Design Ltd in Shipley, Eric Hawthorn, and John Chacksfield of Trio Healthcare Ltd, Broughton.

Companies based outside Leeds have the option of attending satellite events in Bradford, York and Huddersfield, where they will be able to hear the keynote speeches by video conference and network with local exporters.

Director of Chamber International, which is running the Export Network, Tim Bailey, says: “Many of the barriers to exporting are practical so this is very much about giving businesses the hands-on help they need. Our network of export champions, recruited from experienced exporting companies, can assist firms overcome these obstacles by giving them contacts and invaluable tips.

“The benefits of exporting are enormous. Research shows that businesses selling goods and services overseas are not only more profitable and innovative but achieve faster growth and are much more likely to survive.”

Boosting export rates is a key element of the Leeds City Region City Deal, agreed with government last year. The Deal sets an ambitious target of eliminating the City Region’s current £1 billion trade deficit and achieving a growing surplus of £1.6bn by 2018.

Chair of the Leeds City Region LEP, Neil McLean, said: “What’s unique about the We are International campaign is that it’s primarily about connecting new or aspiring exporters with companies that have been there and done it already.

“We’re extremely grateful to our export champions for giving their time and expertise to help other companies break into overseas markets, and help our economy punch its weight on the global stage. We have some fantastic export success stories in this City Region, and I hope that as many companies as possible will take advantage of the Export Network to learn about the practicalities of entering new markets, and develop new business connections.”

Companies interested in becoming export champions can register at www.weareinternational.co.uk. In return for varying levels of support, champions will have the chance to promote their export success via the LEP website, events and media stories.