One of the leading figures in overseas trade has helped to launch a new hub that will be the centre of assistance for firms looking to export from Coventry and Warwickshire.
Lord Green, the Minister for Trade and Investment, was visiting the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as part of Export Week.
And, following a round-table discussion with around 20 business leaders from across the region – including special guest Sir Peter Rigby, of the Rigby Group – Lord Green agreed to formally launch the Coventry and Warwickshire International Trade Hub at Chamber House.
The new hub will see the Chamber continue to successfully deliver the UKTI service to more than 1,000 businesses each year as well as engaging with 5,000 firms on either exporting for the first time or increasing their export potential.
The new hub will also see the Chamber broker other Government support such as export finance and Export Vouchers.
It means the Chamber will be the first port of call when it comes to export documentation, letters of credit, online tools for exporters, brokerage to language support, cultural awareness and training.
As well as that, it is working with partners such as Coventry University and the University of Warwick to deliver grants and assistance to fund product development, market research and market visits.
Louise Bennett, the chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome Lord Green who has been a wonderful supporter of overseas trade from the UK.
“He has been a key figure in ensuring that British business punches its weight across the world.
“He has done so by not only travelling across the globe but going across the length and breadth of the country talking to UK firms and finding out the types of goods and services they can export and any issues they may have in doing so.
“It was great to welcome him here on the opening day of Export Week and to launch our new Coventry and Warwickshire International Trade Hub.”
Lord Green, who is retiring from his role in December, said ‘Brand Britain’ had great standing around the world.
He said: “In my three years, I have been to 56 countries and in every single one, the British brand is held within very high regard, without exception.
“The Olympic Games has helped that. It showed the whole globe, that when the eye of the world was on us, we could deliver a complex project.
“And while we have improved at exporting over recent years, there is still much more to do – it’s a marathon not a sprint.
“It is the job of Government, Chambers of Commerce and other organisations to be as supportive as possible of companies in their export efforts.”
John Nollett, a Chamber board member, chaired the event as part of his role as chair of the Chamber’s International Trade Forum.
His own firm, Pailton Engineering, exports to more than 30 nations across the world and he said the new hub would mean even greater opportunities to highlight the advantages of global trade.
Nollett said: “As a company, we have had great success overseas and I can see massive untapped export potential in other companies around the region.
“There is lots of help available, particularly through the UKTI team based at the Chamber and we want to highlight that support through the International Trade Forum.
“Equally, we want to show real-life stories of businesses which are trading overseas so other companies have that ‘Eureka’ moment where they think: ‘if they are doing it, why can’t we?’
“Exporting is something I am passionate about – not just for my business but for the economy as a whole – and I am very much looking forward to working with this forum to support our region’s businesses with exports.”