MPs to hold “Exporting for Growth” seminar for local businesses

1st June 2012

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, and Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury announced today that they will be holding a seminar on “Exporting for Growth” for local firms which are interested in getting practical advice and assistance with exporting.

The Seminar will be held on Friday 29th June 2012, between 07.30 am -10.00am at the Madejski Stadium Conference Centre in Reading and thanks to sponsorship from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP), will be free to all attending.

TVB LEP will open the seminar to speak about building a business platform to facilitate growth. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will provide an insight into the opportunities for new business development in overseas markets and the support available to take the risk out of export sales. The Institute of Directors will talk about the details of accelerating export growth through the use of licensing.

Alok Sharma said: “The seminar is entirely free for participants and around 40 companies have already signed up to attend. Despite our best efforts we are bound not to have identified every company which may have an interest in this event. So if you are interested in attending or learning more please email It’s a great opportunity to learn more about exporting and network with fellow local businesses.”

Alok continued: “Some of the biggest opportunities for the UK are in markets like India and China, which in recent years have seen their economies grow at a consistently high rate, despite the global economic slowdown. Starting to export to these countries can initially be a daunting prospect for a small or medium sized business but I hope this seminar will highlight where help is available.”

Richard Benyon said: “Our part of the Thames Valley is a vital part of the UK economy. In a Europe where economies are in recession or at best stagnating, exports to growing economies around the world are what will stimulate growth here at home. This event show local companies the support that exists as part of the Government’s strategy to increase both manufacturing and exports”

Steve Lamb, Chairman of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, who have sponsored the event, said: “Thames Valley Berkshire is the engine of the UK economy, and we need to compete in a global competitive marketplace so we want to ensure the right opportunities are available to local businesses to increase their global competitiveness. This seminar is a great opportunity for businesses to understand more about export markets and for us to understand what if any the barriers to growth may be for businesses.”

Robert Lewtas, Strategic Partnerships Manager for UK Trade & Investment South East said: “With economic uncertainty in Europe and consumer demand tightening in the UK, there has never been a more important time for businesses to look to win and develop business in new markets. This seminar will give you a clear view of what support is available to give you the appropriate tools and a clear pathway to winning the right business, in the right markets, in the right way.”

Barry Lewis, Branch Chairman, IoD Berkshire said: “With a drive to rebalance the UK economy, our SME community needs all the help it can get to increase exports, especially at a time when our natural European home market is showing such signs of stress and reduced demand across most sectors. We are well aware of the part that our IoD SME community has to play in the recovery of the UK economy, it is where the growth and the jobs will come fastest and a significant proportion of the IoD membership is drawn from that SME community.”

The seminar has the support of other business groups including the Federation of Small Businesses, the Chamber of Commerce and Reading UK CIC, who have distributed invitations to their members.

Chair of the Reading and West Berkshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, Martin Judd said: “Small businesses are known for their innovation and responsiveness to changing market conditions in order to survive and thrive. They are well placed to exploit exporting opportunities or to create niche offerings which will do so. To improve their prospects for growth, exporting is an avenue many businesses may be considering and an event like this is great for helping this process along, so that lack of crucial information does not get in the way of success.”

Tim Smith MBE, Executive Director of Reading UK CIC added: “The Reading economy is underpinned by global companies that interact with our SMEs. This event provides an opportunity for the smaller businesses to ensure that they are tuned into all trading opportunities, especially as the world market is so accessible now.”
Anne White, Head of International Trade at the Thames Valley of Chamber of Commerce Group said: “We are pleased to support this event as we are keen to encourage more local businesses to start or increase their exporting. In 2011, our service increased by 12% and we process 23% of all of the UK’s international trade documents. This is a reflection of the large number of multi-national companies in the area and the proximity to the international hub of Heathrow Airport. Exports are vital to the rebalancing of the UK economy, which is why it’s crucial that we support firms looking to trade internationally. So making sure our business owners and exporters of the future are well-equipped with the right skills is key. Only by looking at international trade from every possible angle now will we have the building blocks for a vibrant exporting community in the future.”

Photo: (L-R): Anne White, Head of International Trade at the Thames Valley branch of Chamber of Commerce Group; Barry Lewis, Branch Chairman IoD Berkshire; Richard Benyon MP, Alok Sharma MP, Martin Judd, Chair of the Reading and West Berkshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses; Andrew Cumpsty, TVB LEP Executive Member.

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