You recently got invited to 10 Downing Street to discuss international trade. What key points did you raise and what insights can you share with us?
It was an amazing experience. I felt very lucky to join this session and thank GS1 UK and Enterprise Nation for the opportunity.
I felt privileged to be invited and be a voice for small brands when it comes to exporting. I was left impressed by Alex Hickman and his knowledge about everything going on in the various departments. Only 10 per cent of UK businesses export, but realistically it should be so much more given the help that’s available. The government genuinely do want help, and to gain insight, improve opportunities and support small businesses for export.
I've used DIT a lot for exporting to Switzerland with The Savourists, and when I worked at Cawston Press, which made navigating the website a little easier. A key improvement I raised was to change the tone of voice and information on their website for the SME audience, as it’s currently geared towards corporate businesses and can be confusing.
Encouraging SMEs to export is a new focus, so updates are required to provide SMEs with a clear, actionable plan and practical guidance through the process.
A lot of what was discussed was around financial support for export and international trade. As a business, you have to take into account freight costs and margins to make it worth your while. I put forward the idea for a small grant that businesses can apply for to pay for one-to-one consultations from an approved list of export consultants.
The final takeaway from the session was around the practicalities of Brexit and how that affects exporting. You need to have an EU address on your packaging for exporting, and for that, you need an EU base, which most small businesses won’t have or be able to afford. A way around this is to register the business with a distributor in the EU and use them as your office.