MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson kicked off the initiative in Swale at his quarterly business Q&A held at Kent Science Park by hosting over 50 local (regional) business leaders interested in learning how to export their way out of recession.

Representatives from Barclays Bank, Peel Ports and UKTI, provided expert insight and analysis into how local businesses can begin successfully exporting and can avoid the pitfalls of international trade.

After introductions from James Speck, Site Director of Kent Science Park, the morning opened with an informative presentation from UKTI, discussing the support and funding available from the government for small businesses who are looking to export their goods and services. This was followed by essential information from Barclays Bank on taking international payments and conducting international credit checks. Then a representative from Peel Ports outlined details of how the port could be used to export goods.

After the short presentations, the presenters all joined Gordon Henderson and chairman, KM Business Editor Trevor Sturgess, for a Q&A session, during which attendees had a chance to get detailed answers on problems they were facing.

During the discussions, Mr Henderson spoke about why exporting was so important, and emphasised the government’s commitment to helping businesses to do so:

“The government is working hard to reduce the deficit, but despite necessary cuts in spending and costs, we’re investing in the UKTI – in fact it’s the only government department which is getting an increase in funding. This is because exporting can help the economy to grow, which will create more jobs, which in turn will help to get more people off of benefits. The UKTI had previously been tasked with engaging with 25,000 companies a year, and they’re now being asked to double that figure.

“This investment in the UKTI is just one of the things the government is doing to try to help businesses. Not only has the planned 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty been scrapped, but corporation tax has also been cut by 1%, giving us the lowest rate of tax in the western world. There has also been proposed rate relief on empty properties from October.”

Lynn Underwood, International Business Manager at Barclays was one of the presenters on the day. She spoke about why exporting was so important to the economy:

“Winning business overseas is a vitally important way for SMEs to prosper and help grow their way out of recession. Our research shows that in the challenging domestic market, exporting provides attractive new revenue growth of up to a third, boosting the bottom line and supporting job creation. It was great to see so many business people at the event and we will certainly be working with them to help them benefit from the immense opportunities that exist through international trade.”

James Speck, Site Director at Kent Science Park also commented about the morning:

“We already have a number of businesses on site that are exporting internationally, and I hope that more businesses in Swale will follow suit. We all want the economy to improve and bringing in revenue from abroad can have a positive impact on any business’ bottom line. The more we see local companies benefitting from international trade, the more jobs will be created in Swale.”

Gordon Henderson will be returning to Kent Science Park for another Question and Answer session with local businesses on 15th February 2013. More details can be found on kentsciencepark.co.uk/events.



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