Exporters offered route to powerful global business network

An international trade expert has been appointed to help the South’s exporters reach high growth markets through an £8 million business-led partnership.

Mark Baulch will work from the Fareham office of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce to connect firms with an accredited network of overseas business centres and support services.

The network is being developed by British Chambers of Commerce, the government’s export support department UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The aim nationally is to help double the level of annual British exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and raise the number of UK exporters by 100,000.

Mr Baulch’s appointment follows a successful bid by Hampshire Chamber to be the lead chamber in the South East for the initiative.

As well as Hampshire, he will provide support to firms through the various chambers serving Sussex, Surrey, Kent, Thames Valley, and the Isle of Wight.

Mr Baulch, who was previously an international business development manager for global book distributor Ingram Coutts, said: “My role is to be a conduit. I will be working directly with local chamber members to put them in touch with accredited business networks abroad quickly and seamlessly. That means practical support, assessing particular target markets and advising where to find the best opportunities for exporting products and services.”

Mr Baulch is one of nine regional co-ordinators across the UK for the initiative. While he has been specifically tasked with driving one-to-one contacts in Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, his wider remit is to help firms develop market reach in any country.

Complementing the support from UKTI and chambers, the accredited business centres will provide hot desking, PR and low-cost advice from experts on the ground across 40 high growth markets such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Poland. The centres are intended to act as practical, vibrant spaces in which to land and get started in each market.

Mr Baulch added: “I want to ensure that local companies take full advantage of this powerful, global business-led initiative whatever their sector and wherever they want to trade. People need practical help and advice when exporting. High growth markets are often seen by our SMEs as difficult to access, so it makes sense to provide more business-to-business support in these countries. In time, this will help position UK exporters at the forefront of global growth opportunities.”

Stewart Dunn, Chief Executive of Hampshire Chamber, said: “Mark will play a vital role in building a global network of support for businesses in the South East. They already export all kinds of goods and services from commercial marine to IT systems. Firms will now be seeking to increase trade as the economy improves at home and abroad and the chamber network here and overseas is ideally paced to help them.”

During nine years at Ingram Coutts, Mr Baulch worked in a variety of sales and information services roles. His territories included Europe, Scandinavia, Russia and the Middle East.

He has also held management posts in retail and events. In his own time, he is part of the media services team for the British Grand Prix and the UK round of the World Rally Championship.