There was a proud moment for the Institute of Export this week when Lord Jenkin of Roding praised the Institute in his House of Lords address on International Competitiveness. He singled out our Director General Lesley Batchelor as a “remarkable lady” after he had sought Lesley’s opinion on the challenges of international trading.
Lesley said: “It’s a real accolade for the IOE to be referenced in Lord Jenkin’s address and particularly rewarding to be acknowledged by the House of Lords as an authority on international trading. The IOE’s work in supporting businesses that wish to trade internationally is ever-expanding and we’re delighted that Lord Jenkin based much of his address on the Institute’s experience and expertise.”
As highlighted by the results of the International Trade Survey, the demand for UK products is fuelling export growth – with over 70% of businesses boosting their overseas export drive. Lord Jenkin emphasised that, despite the increase in focus on export business, there is very low awareness on the part of small firms of the support that is available to them – support like our qualifications and training programmes.
Lord Jenkin quoted Lesley as saying: “Too few companies undertake any internal training in exporting, so that any success becomes a matter of happenstance and not a matter of strategy.”
He also stressed that training for small businesses on “the mysteries of international trade” is a must, along with a need for more awareness on the financial support available to small firms from UK Export Finance. Moreover, Lord Jenkin condemned the media for choosing to cover only failures in international business when, in actual fact, successes are common: proven by this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.
With less than 10% of companies with a £1 million plus turnover receiving government support, International Trade Survey author Mark Runiewicz, CEO of Trade and Export Finance Limited (TAEFL) which specialises in providing advice on all aspects of international banking and finance, is calling for a more focused and ‘joined up’ strategy.
At the Institute we will continue to drive forward our commitment to training and educational programmes. British businesses are resilient and resourceful and, even without the right support, will find a way to develop trade overseas. With the right support, the world really is their oyster.