Exporters are being offered access to £1.1 million in free training and consultancy to help them trade more effectively overseas.
The Institute of Export and International Trade has launched a voucher scheme, providing vouchers worth £1,100 to 1,000 businesses that want to either start or improve their exporting efforts.
Marco Forgione, the institute’s director general, said that the initiative was in response to a fall in the number of UK exporters in the last year.
The institute’s latest export monitor found that in February numbers had declined by 521 to 61,005 compared with the year before. The number was also the lowest since January last year.
“This is the first time that a project like this, of this scale, has been undertaken,” Forgione said. “With £1,100 you can buy a suite of tools and services. This isn’t about a business getting a voucher but it has to spend £6,000 in order to use it. There is no requirement that you have to spend any money with us.”
Last November the government said that it wanted more British companies to trade overseas and to reach £1 trillion a year in exports by 2030.
Forgione said that there was no one reason for the decline in numbers of exporters, citing Covid-19, Brexit, ongoing supply chain disruption and the sanctions after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as all playing a part.
He added that some companies were discouraged from exporting because they were not familiar with how to do it.
“Businesses can see international trade as more complicated, more challenging and difficult than the reality,” he said. “What they require is for any mystery, concern and doubt to be removed.”
He said that the institute had experts who could “demystify” trade, and how to trade “compliantly and effectively”.