Sheffield Leads the way to Boost Overseas Trade

Sheffield Leads the way to Boost Overseas Trade

19 May 2015

THOUSANDS of jobs could be created and more than £80 million invested in the city over the next five years under ambitious plans to boost exports from Sheffield.

It is estimated that from the Sheffield business base of 16,305 businesses, 1,300 are exporters with one thousand more having untapped export potential.

The National Export Challenge, launched in 2012, aims to grow exporting businesses in the UK by 100,000 by the year 2020 and Sheffield is seen as having a lead role in achieving the local share of this ambitious national target.

As part of this, Sheffield City Council’s International Trade and Export Strategy is set to boost the number of SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) exporting within the city by a further 860 by 2020.

The Council has also revealed this week – National Export Week – that it is delivering an Export Development Programme, supporting 60 businesses over the next year to start exporting or grow their exporting offer.

The Council has been a major player in bringing together partners in the region to boost exports. This has culminated in a partnership arrangement between national exporting bodies and local export and business support providers.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), UK Export Finance, South Yorkshire International Trade Centre, South Yorkshire International Trade Forum, Chambers of Commerce and Sheffield City Region all have responsibilities to grow Sheffield’s export volumes.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, Sheffield City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Business, Skills and Development said: “Increasing the number of Sheffield businesses that export is absolutely essential to our economic growth. Rather than money and market share moving between businesses within the city, exporting allows business to bring in a completely new stream of money, meaning the economic growth is far bigger for Sheffield.

"Exporting also creates jobs, attracts talent and showcases our offering in overseas markets; all of which feed into our city’s vibrancy. As a city we have an ambitious target but one that our strategy sets out to deliver. As well as supporting 860 businesses to export for the first time, we will be helping 360 established exporters to grow their offering into new overseas markets. This combined effort will lead to 1,300 jobs created and an economic impact to the city of £80 million GVA (Gross Value Added).”

An Independent Economic Review commissioned by Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (SCRLEP) in 2012 concluded that the City Region needed to become much more ‘outward-facing’ as its business base was too internally focused, and had become over-reliant on the domestic market during the boom years of the late 90s and early 2000s.

Mark Robson, Regional Director, UK Trade and Investment Yorkshire, added: “International trade continues to be a key driver underpinning economic growth across the Sheffield City Region. With support from UKTI and our partners we’ve seen some fantastic examples of both manufacturing and service businesses growing rapidly as a result of their export development.

"But we need to see more companies thinking about exporting for the first time and turning those thoughts to action. Or those companies already exporting to think bigger! Through UKTI’s First Time Exporter, Export Growth and Medium Sized Business support, together with the Sheffield Export Development Programme we will continue to work with companies with the aspiration and motivation to look to new growth opportunities overseas”

To help boost provision in a meaningful way locally, Sheffield City Council developed its Export Development Programme, delivered through Business Sheffield. The programme has two avenues of support:

New Exporters: supporting new exporters to begin exporting for the first time through one-to-one support with an export advisor, with a match-funded £1,000 grant being available for eligible businesses

New Markets: supporting experienced exporters to enter new, high-growth markets to accelerate growth through match-funded £5,000 eligible grants

Businesses within Sheffield with ambitions to trade overseas should contact Business Sheffield Gateway on 0114 2245000.