Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership held its International Trade conference on Tuesday 20th March 2012 at the Arora Hotel, Crawley. Coast to Capital has ambitious goals to increase, significantly, the number of businesses which trade internationally and held this event for organisations that work to support businesses in trading overseas.
The conference was presented with initial findings from new research commissioned by Coast to Capital about the patterns of current international trade in the Coast to Capital area – sectors, characteristics and locations, all specific to our area and the prospects for the future.
Participants heard that findings from a recent survey of businesses in the area suggests that 10% of Coast to Capital businesses are active exporters and generate around £13.6bn - about 42% of the GVA for the Coast to Capital area.
Businesses themselves are optimistic for the future, with a rising proportion of them expecting trade to increase over the next 12 months.
Charles Carter, from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), congratulated Coast to Capital on their initiative to encourage SMEs to consider exporting. During his talk he encouraged businesses to use the ICAEW Business Advice Service for support and advice.
Iain Shepherd, Coast to Capital Board member responsible for Internationalisation, said:
"I was absolutely delighted by the positive and enthusiastic response from both public and private sector organizations to engage with Coast to Capital in the delivery of our Internationalisation agenda. The conference demonstrated that our ambitious targets were both realistic and achievable. Coast to Capital wants to double the number of businesses that are regular and fully active international traders. It is a big target – much bigger than what we have seen before – and it will take a concerted effort by all public, private and third sector bodies who work with businesses – to make progress.”
The Coast to Capital International Trade conference was attended by representatives of accountancy and legal firms, specialist service providers, banks, chambers of commerce, trade bodies, UKTI, universities, Gatwick Airport and local authorities.
Coast to Capital’s Board will be discussing the new research and the feedback from the conference and the next steps will be communicated in due course.