Francis Maude, the government’s minister of state for trade and investment, will be joining 40 small business owners during their whistle-stop tour of China, where British entrepreneurs hope to showcase their services and meet with influential Chinese retailers.
SMEs go global
As part of Enterprise Nation’s Go Global Mission, 40 entrepreneurs will set travel to Shanghai on October 14th for a three day tour of the city. The trade mission aims to find firm trade links with the Far East, with China being the UK’s sixth largest trading partner.
Lord Maude, who is also leading a UKTI trade mission to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in November, will be visiting the start-up accelerator Chinaccelerator in Shanghai as well as conducting a live web chat on Friday October 16.
All of the companies that are travelling with the trade minister have been subsidised by PayPal, HSBC, HP and UKTI. Six of the 40 SMEs received full funding by winning HP’s Go Global Awards.
‘China is the world’s second largest economy’
The trip could be a great insight for small businesses that are looking to export. Last year Enterprise Nation led a successful small businesses mission to the US, which saw a delegation of micro businesses come away with just under £400K worth of businesses from a two-day trip as well as a useful list of contacts and ideas.
Small business network Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones, who will lead the delegation is looking forward to the trade mission.
‘‘Small British businesses in particular often perceive that things like language and cultural differences are an insurmountable obstacle to doing business outside of Europe,’’ explained Jones.
‘‘Yet China is the world’s second largest economy as a proportion of global GDP, imports £16.7bn worth of British goods every year and represents a fantastic opportunity for home-grown entrepreneurs.’’
‘‘It’s not often the smallest companies get an opportunity like this to explore China for themselves, this is normally something reserved for large firms with huge firepower and big budgets. We want to dramatically change all of that and open up the Chinese economy to the growing number of British firms with a unique offering.’’
‘‘We’ve got some astonishing companies on board and we’re delighted to be showing them around.’’
One of the companies joining Jones is JustPark, a company providing a tech solution to the nation’s chronic shortage of parking spaces.
Other firms on the trip include St Albans-based gaming accessories brand Prif, luxury knitwear brand Lucy Cox, based in Somerset and Windsor-based child, baby natural hairbrush brand Gnot, and digital hotel marketing firm Journey.
All these companies will be hoping to increase their profit margins through the trip, with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills estimating that small firms which export are 11 per cent more likely to survive.