Companies across Coventry and Warwickshire are showing their appetite for export and aren’t afraid to ask for help – that’s the view of one of the leading figures in international trade in the region. The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Hub hosted its second ‘meet the export expert’ event after a successful launch in the summer. And, such was the interest, the Chamber had to move it to larger conference space at Cheylesmore House to accommodate the experts and more than 50 firms that booked on. The event allowed businesses to book 20-minute one-to-one meetings with experts in a range of fields – including UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) advisers, language experts and freight delivery.
Ajay Desai, who heads the Chamber’s UKTI international trade team, said: “We held our first event of this type earlier in the year at our HQ at the Chamber. But there was such strong interest in this one that we had to move it to Cheylesmore House’s conference space. It proved a wise move because we had more experts and more companies wanting to attend. It’s a format that works really well because it gives businesses the chance to tap into a wide range of expertise in a very short space of time.
“Of course, when it comes down to serious advice about overseas trade, you need longer than that initial 20 minute chat but it’s a great starting point. What’s really pleasing is the fact that businesses are showing such a great desire to export and that they are recognising the help that’s available. Exports are absolutely key to growing the economy in this region and the more firms that we can get trading overseas the better. On top of that, we want to get those companies who are already exporting to start to explore new markets too – which again boosts their business and our economy. The support is here for them, they just need to get in touch.”
A recent report from the British Chambers of Commerce suggests that access to finance was one of the biggest barriers to exporting that most companies listed.
Ajay agreed but said there are solutions. He said: “You can understand where companies are coming from because access to finance, generally, has been an issue over recent years. However, if companies get in touch with the team we can support them and put them in touch with the right experts who can help them overcome this barrier.”