Dominic Jermey, the new chief executive of UKTI, has urged SMEs in the North East of England to tap into government support to help them export to foreign markets.
During his first official visit to the region, Jermey met with local businesses, UKTI leaders and the North East Chamber of Commerce, and praised companies in the North East for the £14.1 billion worth of goods that they export to every continent in the world. But he said that more focus needs to be placed on helping smaller operations to open up into foreign markets.
“What do we need to do to persuade SMEs, in particular the medium sized enterprises, to export? This is a much more exporting region in the main, but there are still companies out there who are not quite there,” said Jermey. “What people are telling me is that it’s lack of awareness of how much they can be supported over the pain threshold. We are looking at how to get that out there.”
He added: “We are trying to make is as easy as possible for firms to look at countries like India and Nigeria and we are trying to put our resources into these emerging markets. We’re also now in 21 markets in Africa and five new markets in Latin America.”
“My message to the North East SME community is to be brave. There’s an awful lot of support there to help you internationalise and export so speak to your banks and talk to the UKTI.”