‘It’s time for companies to think outside the borders’

A TOP civil servant has revealed one of the nation’s “best kept secrets” to Business Monthly, writes David Tooley.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 10th December 2011, 10:45 am

Liz Basing is UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI) international trade director for the East of England and she spilled the beans on the benefits of exporting.

“The support available to companies looking to export is one of the country’s best-kept secrets,” said Liz. “We want people to know that we are here.”

Exporting is one of the ways the government wants to kick start economic growth.

Currently some one in five small businesses sell goods and services overseas. The UKTI’s aim is to see that increase to one in every four small businesses.

Liz was in Luton to visit Detaelectrical, in Laporte Way, which has made a great success out of exporting.

The company began life in 1959 in London selling lighting and electrical products. UKTI has been helping reach international markets since 2005.

It has grown into one of the leading suppliers to the electrical industry, selling smoke alarms, cabling, lighting, ventilation equipment and hand dryers.

According to Liz, there is no need to be put off by well-publicised problems in the Eurozone either.

“The Eurozone is not the whole of Europe,” she said. “Some countries in Europe, like Poland, haven’t been in recession.”

All kinds of firms should consider exporting, she said, not just ones that sell goods. “Training and development can be carried out in different languages and we can help.”

UKTI has staff in 96 countries, who can help companies gain access to key contacts.

Liz said embassy teams are geared up to help businesses make contacts and help them get to know markets. UKTI has a service called OMIS, which has to be paid for, to do that.

Before coming to the East of England earlier this year, Liz ran the UKTI team in the British Embassy in Poland and is aware of the many opportunities for companies in Luton and Bedfordshire who decide that expanding into foreign markets is the way forward, particularly as growth slows in the UK. UKTI in the east of England, which includes Luton and Dunstable, has a team of advisors who can be contacted by phoning 0845 6419955 or by visiting www.ukti.gov.uk.

> See our interview with Liz Basing at www.lutontoday.co.uk/news/business