Why Wales needs to export, trade and grow
Jason Smith is a former CEO of Blurrt UK and a founding patron of GlobalWelsh. Following a partnership event with UK Government, he outlines how businesses can access support for exporting.
"Wales is a small country. At some stage businesses need to look outwards if they are to achieve significant revenue growth. This is particularly true for Welsh technology businesses. There simply isn’t a big enough native market but the power of digital transcends borders."
It’s also true that Welsh businesses typically fall within the SME bracket, particularly within the technology space. Resources are limited and any help/assistance is gratefully received.
Looking at the latest figures from HMRC, it is really encouraging that Welsh exports increased in 2017 by £2,391 million. However, there are two vital statistics in these numbers that are telling. Exports to the EU accounted for 59.8 per cent of Welsh exports. The other is that the export figures were dominated by machinery and transport equipment.
"With Brexit looming large and the uncertainties surrounding access to EU markets, it’s imperative for Welsh businesses to start looking to other markets outside of the EU. With limited resources that can be very hard".
One of the objectives behind GlobalWelsh is to help Welsh businesses trade internationally. We can do this by encouraging connectivity and collaboration. By bringing different people and organisations together, we can help Welsh businesses on their international trade journey. Earlier this month, we facilitated a session for Welsh businesses at Tramshed Tech Hub with UK Government, Department for International Trade and the Secretary of State for Wales.
The messages were very positive for Welsh business. As well as tapping into support from Welsh Government, there is a range of support available from the Department of International Trade (‘DiT’). The DiT have 109 offices around the world staffed with experienced sector and location exports. Those DiT contacts can help with a host of local issues. These offices are sources of intelligence of what local markets are seeking; local Government support and connections and partnership opportunities.
"DiT have a wide range of support for Trade Missions, from provision of financial support for individual companies to organising ‘mega missions’ where office space and meetings are arranged for UK companies."
Collaboration & connectivity were key themes at the Transhed session. Welsh Businesses can & should leverage DiT connections with larger multi-nationals, both here in the UK and internationally for partnership opportunities, particularly in the technology space. Those connections also include access to venture capital.
Businesses can also access finance and insurance via UK Export Finance which can provide financial support for any size of exporter across all sectors, from capital goods to services and intangibles such as intellectual property.
I’d encourage any Welsh businesses looking to export to connect with DiT and start collaborating.