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International Trade Secretary Liam Fox visits staff at Business West's new International Trade Centre

PUBLISHED: 14:01 29 November 2016

Liam Fox and Catherine Baines with BW Management

Liam Fox and Catherine Baines with BW Management

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Business West is giving a boost to the government's post-Brexit export drive in the South West to meet the challenge of recruiting hundreds more companies to become exporters for the first time. And as a first step in the campaign, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox visited Business West's new International Trade Centre at their Bristol headquarters

Working with Dr Fox’s Department for International Trade (DIT), Business West aims to recruit 250 new exporting companies by next April. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said: “As Secretary of State for International Trade and MP for North Somerset, I know that the South West has an abundance of successful, innovative companies, but many are yet to take the next step and grow their business through exports.

“This new International Trade Centre, run by Business West, will play an important role in helping firms in Bristol and the wider South West region to take that all important first step and gain access to new markets and reach new customers across the globe.”

Phil Smith, Managing Director of Business West, which has business relationships with 21,000 companies in the South West region, commented: “We are enthusiastic in taking up the challenge from Liam Fox to help to encourage and help both first time and existing exporters. “It’s amazing that only about 11% of UK businesses export, which gives us here in the South West a huge opportunity to really break through into exporting.

“On average, companies earn £100,000 in additional sales within 18 months of working with us and the Department for International Trade. The big bonus for these companies is that the Business West export advice from our DIT team of trade experts is free.”

DIT’s team of International Trade Advisers in the South West deliver export services to businesses from Tewkesbury to Truro, and so far this year they have worked alongside more than 1,300 businesses helping them secure in excess of £50m in export orders. Any South West business can discuss how DIT can help by calling 01275 370944.

“Apart from helping firms to get started in exporting, Business West has a special team handling export documentation to ensure those companies have the confidence that we will help them get paid”, said Phil Smith.

Alison Howells, founder of Foot Trails of Bath, which provides specialist local walking tours, is typical of the South West companies which has been helped to start their export journey by Business West and the Department of International Trade.

“The experience of working with the Department for International Trade has given us skills, access and information about how to develop a strategy as well as exposure to the market to talk to people and sound out ideas. It was a very useful and valuable opportunity”, she said.

Business West– A Powerful Voice for Business.

All companies can benefit from the range of information, advice, networking events and international trade support that is available from Business West.

As one of the most influential business leadership organisations in the UK, we represent over 21,000 businesses in the South West including our network of Chambers of Commerce members in Bristol, Bath, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire. By

• Leading – we provide a powerful voice for business to influence the way our area is shaped

• Connecting – we empower the local business community to connect, collaborate and profit

• Growing – we help businesses to start and prosper at home and overseas through tailored advice and support

At national level, as part of the British Chambers of Commerce it sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people.

www.businesswest.co.uk

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