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North East exporting is champion


Column by DIT Partnership and Campaigns Manager, Karen Berry as published in The Journal (11 April).

The first cohort of Northern Powerhouse Export Champions for 2018, some of the most inspiring and successful exporters and innovators in the North of England, were revealed by Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for Department for International Trade at UCLAN Preston in March.

I represented the North East England Chamber of Commerce as the North East Delivery Partner for DIT and was delighted to hear a number of our members are actively taking part in this initiative. Lesley Moody MBE (AES Digital Solutions Ltd), John Evans (Beanies the Flavour Coffee Company), Steve Pugh (Bignall Group), Hayley Smith (Craft Yourself Silly), Alan Richardson (Hart Doors),Richard Turner (JDR Cables), Sarfraz Mian (Neue Schule), Colin Simpson (Tomlinson Hall) and Nigel Mills CBE (The Lakes Distillery) are amongst those representing the region.

The NPH Export Champions will be offering support to newer exporters and sharing their time and expertise. This will involve mentoring others, speaking at events and seminars, accompanying trade missions overseas. The North East is a successful exporting region and the demand for British made goods and services continues to be very strong as evidenced by recent trade statistics.

Businesses may have international trade concerns with the present Brexit uncertainty so there has never been a better time to engage with the North East England Chamber of Commerce. Our established International Trade Team can help members to effectively map and prepare for any changes that could potentially be around the corner. Understanding current businesses processes, especially if only currently exporting to the EU, is key to being prepared for what potentially could lie ahead.

The International Trade Advisers can also help identify potential new markets for goods and services both within and outside the EU. There has, for example, been a lot of publicity about opportunities in China, South East Asia and South America, has your business fully considered these markets? The government funded DIT service is here to help businesses to review their current export strategy and to help grow international trade for the future.

Not every business can win a DIT Board of Trade Medal, like Blue Kangaroo, the Gateshead based design agency, but every business can proactively be reviewing their export strategy in light of Brexit, seeking opportunities for growth and using the North East England Chamber of Commerce to connect them to the rest of the world.