Clive Drinkwater, the regional director of UK Trade & Investment, today challenged Lancashire businesses to reach out to new export markets.
As National Export Week got under way, Mr Drinkwater threw down the gaunlet to business people across the region.
He said: “During Export Week and beyond I want to encourage businesses to reach out to new markets.
“If every current exporter in the region achieves this, we could increase the GDP in the North West by an estimated £2billion, significantly aiding economic recovery and giving a boost to our competitiveness as a region.”
Export Week – from November 10-14 – brings with it a range of free events aimed at helping companies across the UK make the most of their overseas potential – and this year, women in exports are a key focus.
Mr Drinkwater said: “We have a considerable number of female entrepreneurs in the region, many of whom are UKTI Export Champions. We are keen for more women-led businesses to come along to our events and make the most of their export potential.
“As well as the many established women-led firms in the region, we know there are also many women who have grown hobbies into businesses.
“These small, often new firms get enquiries online from overseas customers and owners may not know how to maximise this export opportunity further.
“Our aim is to show that exporting is possible for any women led business. All it takes is determination, the right advice, a bit of inspiration and support.”
It has been suggested that key barriers to women exporting include not having the mindset to move into exports; not having access to finance and not having the necessary business contacts and experience.
A series of Women in International Business Forums and Finding A New Market forums take place this week. Venues include: Burnley FC, today; Chester Racecourse on Wednesday; and Formby Hall, Southport, on Thursday.