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All you need to know about International Trade

14 June 2024

If you've been considering trading outside of the UK but don't know where to start, then training and support via UK Shared Prosperity Funding, delivered by North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, could help you get started.

Preston and the surrounding area are home to some major manufacturers already involved in international trade, but it also contains a strong manufacturing small and medium sized enterprise (SME) base who may need a helping hand on how to get started and what needs to be considered.

As a region we have historically punched below our weight when it comes to our levels of exports. Add to that the fact that UK businesses who export tend to grow more than those who don't - and foreign companies who locate here are typically more productive, more innovative, and pay higher wages - then there are definite benefits for the local economy in several areas.

Businesses in Preston are home to an abundance of talent within both large and small companies, supplemented by an innovative and collaborative environment. The aim is to help businesses grow and expand in international trade, where the funding can help with advice, support and training.

Paul Walters, Head of International Trade at North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said:

"The allocation of UKSPF from Preston City Council to this project has already helped some of our current members enormously and now we want to speak to any business owner in Preston who is interested in growth in this area. The funding enables us to provide that support and training - at no cost to the business - in an area that can be difficult to navigate. And the business doesn't have to be a member of the Chamber.

"By assisting companies, we can introduce them to potential markets and guide them in their journey through training and consultancy to improve and upskill their staff. Feedback on the training so far has been very positive.

"The flexibility of the funding means that we can tailor the support to each company's particular needs. Some businesses have used the training courses to upskill key members of staff, while others have seen a greater benefit from the consultancy and advice on offer."

More information

  • NWLCC is looking at existing regional sector strengths - such as aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and energy - and also exploring new technology-based subsectors which may offer additional opportunities for international trade. A food and drink export proposition, mixed with agricultural expertise, could also be utilised to support more global export activity.
  • To apply for international trade support from the UKSPF, your business's sole or main place of business must be an address within the city of Preston.
  • Your business does not need to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce to benefit from this
  • funding.
  • Contact export@lancschamber.co.uk to arrange an initial discussion.

The Government backed UK Export Academy has free training, webinars and support, plus how to access government support to grow your business abroad. UK Export Academy - great.gov.uk  (Please note The Civil Service has now entered the pre-election period. This will last until the General Election concludes. During this time there will be restrictions on UK Export Academy activity and their events calendar will be reduced)

Wider business advice and support

For wider local and national business support and advice around topics such as start ups, development, finance, recruitment and training see our business support section.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) is a central pillar of the UK Government's Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK, investing in communities and place, supporting local business, people and skills.

The Government has allocated £5.2 million for investment in Preston.