The site is a joint initiative between hibu (formerly Yell) and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), where businesses seeking to export can access practical advice and have their questions answered by the IOE and other partners.
Open to Export gives SMEs the guidance to begin to take their business overseas.They can register for free, connect and engage with the exporting community and accessing a customised eMarketplace offering products and services that will help them trade abroad.
Prime Minister David Cameron first announced the initiative in November 2011. At its launch a year on, Lord Green, Minister of State for Trade & Investment, said: “Supporting more small and medium sized enterprises to export is a key part of the government’s plan for growth.”
The Prime Minister outlined this as a national challenge last year, targeting a further 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and the doubling of export receipts to £1 trillion.
“Half of the UK’s exports, by value, already come from SMEs. Open to Export will provide practical assistance, advice and support to other businesses looking to make that crucial first step to sell into foreign markets.”
Almost 5,000 unique users per month are already using the site, with access to more than 2,000 pieces of content and event information from 50 different organisations – including advice videos from the IOE. Topics covered online range from managing international payments and employment visas, to choosing a translation provider and the benefits of attending global conferences.
IOE director general, Lesley Batchelor, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Open to Export. It’s a pioneering initiative to bring together several strands of export-focused tips, guidance and support in a single place, building a community of companies that can grow and collaborate with one another.
“The IOE is dedicated to helping SMEs to maximise their exporting performance and we’re all in favour of any vehicle through which businesses can easily access practical support and share knowledge and best practice with experts and fellow exporters.
“Using our membership to share best practice and support is the best way to build the much needed Professionalism in International Trade that the UK needs.”