Businesses across the Tees Valley are being urged to “think global” with the launch of a new service to boost exports in the area.
“Expanding Tees Valley presence in international markets” has been created by the Department for International Trade North East specifically to help Teesside firms break into overseas markets.
The project is targeted at small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership area to successfully sell products and services across the globe.
A completely free service, Expanding Tees Valley presence in international markets will provide both practical and financial support, providing the perfect launchpad for businesses new to exporting and also real hands-on help for those already selling goods and services in other countries.
Director of International Trade, Julie Underwood, said: “The Tees Valley is a fertile ground for brilliant SMEs operating across a wealth of sectors.
“It plays home to some of the region’s most successful exporters, but we believe there is an opportunity to do so much more.
“The Expanding Tees Valley presence in international markets project provides an innovative approach to export support. Businesses tell us what they need and we deliver it – quickly, simply and effectively.”
Eligible businesses can tap in to £1,800 of support for activities such as:
• Overseas travel
• Attending exhibitions and trade shows
• Internationalising websites and marketing collateral
• Specific consultancy support
To launch Expanding Tees Valley, an event is being held next month to help businesses gain maximum impact from attending overseas trade shows and networking events.
The Department for International Trade North East is delivering the event with ProExtra, which will guide firms through its interactive workshop of practical advice, hints and models to assist exporters to improve their performance.
By the end of the workshop, held at Prismatic House in Stockton, delegates will understand how to prepare better; implement and evaluate trade event plans to drive a return on investment and subsequent business growth.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has backed the new programme, urging firms to maximise their potential by exploring overseas markets.
He said: “We have some fantastic local businesses exporting right across the globe who will absolutely benefit from this new service.
“With money available to tap in to and practical advice on hand, I’m urging every business in the Tees Valley to sign up and take advantage of this new scheme and all the opportunities available overseas.”
Julie added: “Through Expanding the Tees Valley, we will introduce businesses to their own International Trade Adviser, who will develop an understanding of the firm and its aspirations before working with it to provide tailored support and develop an achievable delivery plan outlining the activities to help grow trade overseas.
“The Trade Advisor will also help businesses access specialist support, such as Virtual Export Managers and Export Sector Specialists, as well as grant funding to assist with the costs of export promotion.”
Businesses working within most sectors from across the Tees Valley LEP are eligible to apply.
Expanding Tees Valley receives ERDF funding, administered by the Department for International Trade.
By the end of March 2021, it is hoped 132 Tees Valley based SMEs will have been awarded a total of £250,000 grant funding from the campaign, creating 130 new jobs and introducing 10 ‘new to company’ products or services to international markets.