A group of South West businesses that have found export success overseas have been recognised as Export Champions by the Department for International Trade (DIT) at an event held at Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium today.
The 15 exporters have been selected by DIT for their inspirational approach to growing their businesses through exporting, and will encourage peers in their region to start exporting. Their appointments come at a time when worldwide appetite for British goods continues to grow every year, in 2018, goods exports from the South West increased by 5% to £21.5bn, compared to 2017.
Champions will offer practical advice on how to turn exporting ambitions into a reality, and guidance on how DIT can help them break into new markets. The chosen South West-based exporters include Cheltenham-based Hawkins & Brimble, Portishead-based Rockit and Sandford’s Thatchers Cider.
The Export Champion community, launched in March as part of the Exporting is GREAT campaign, was introduced in response to a desire from businesses to receive peer-to-peer exporting support. There are now 250 Export Champions active across England, and the department’s ambition is to expand the programme to at least 1,000 Champions by April 2020.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, said: “What is clear from meeting businesses today is that there is a growing appetite for goods made in the South West. In the 2018 goods exports from the region increased by 5% to £21.5bn, compared to 2017. But there is still so much potential to do more.
“Our Export Champions are a vital part of an expanding peer-to-peer network my department is building across the UK. For real businesses in the South West and around the country, advice from firms that are already exporting can be the catalyst to taking the first step towards selling overseas.
“I urge you to take today as inspiration and get in touch with us to find out how your business could benefit for this network.”
Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Trade in the South West, said: “The South West’s new Export Champions embody global ambition and they are the best candidates to inspire and guide other local businesses on their exporting journey. We’re proud to have them on board and part of a nationwide programme designed to encourage more businesses to grow through exporting by sharing their own experiences.
“We have a wealth of successful exporters across the region and I would encourage them to join the wider community by signing up as Export Advocates at great.gov.uk By sharing their export stories via online channels, they will also be part of Exporting is GREAT, the government’s most ambitious exporting campaign ever.”
Fifteen businesses from across the South West attended the event and shared their inspiring stories of export success. Rockit, a Portishead-based manufacturer of baby rockers, is an Export Champion which recently expanded its international footprint in South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique. Since working with DIT the business has exported more than 25,000 of its products worldwide in countries including Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.