With Southampton regarded a significant potential growth area for the UK, the Institute of Export and International Trade (IOT&E) brought its World Trade Summit to the south coast for the first time.
While the UK’s withdrawal from the EU was still causing waves of business uncertainty at the time of the event, there was plenty of optimism amongst speakers and delegates about the significant opportunities for technology businesses willing to broaden their horizons beyond UK trade. Indeed, the overriding message was: exporting is easy – but only if you know how and who to go to for support and advice.
Speakers presented on a range of challenges associated with exporting goods and solutions including: paperwork compliance and customs procedures, cross-border VAT, working capital and trade finance solutions and legal matters including brand protection and the need for clear international terms and conditions
The event closed with an exporter case study panel discussion featuring representatives from three Science Park companies: Mike Austin, CEO – Fresh Relevance, James Davenport, Head of Technology – TrackBack, and Sandra Sassow, Co-Founder and Director - SeaB. Extremely diverse businesses, each spoke of their successes and challenges in international trade and the need for perseverance when starting to export, noting that market entry takes time.
Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General – Institute of Export & International Trade, supported the optimism around export opportunities espoused by her fellow speakers, but also warned that exporting is only great when you know how to do it properly. She spoke about how the Institute’s training courses and customs pathway are helping exporters to prepare for Brexit and encouraged businesses to make the most of the opportunity by exploring the wide array of strategic support and regional funding available.
Southampton Science Park CEO, Peter Birkett, noted: “There are many businesses here at the Science Park that are achieving significant growth through international trade. Equally, there are many here and across the region that have not yet embraced, or even explored, the potential to do so. This World Trade Summit signposted a way forward for these businesses, clearly demonstrating that, with the right guidance, exporting can not only be easy, but the turnkey to realising a company’s true growth potential.”
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