Last week marked the return of a welcome addition to the events calendar, the bi-annual Export Week. This is something I have looked forward to as it not only showcases an array of activity but also highlights the exciting role exporting plays within our region. What I hadn’t anticipated was the impressive set of manufacturing overseas sales and orders figures – in fact the best recorded in the region’s largest business survey that would coincide with the launch.
Produced in partnership with Barclays, the North East Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) revealed orders, sales and exports had risen to unprecedented levels for the QES and that firms remain focused on recruitment and capital investment.
These figures show confidence in performance, particularly in the manufacturing sector, which in turn gives the North East a much-needed boost as the figures show an upsurge in trade and foreign markets. A remarkable result which will have started by every business involved asking itself the same question... if we consider an overseas market will it enable the business to grow at a faster rate than if it focuses on a purely domestic market? This is a vital consideration and one that initiatives like Export Week encourage business owners to ask themselves.
Export week proved to be an ideal platform for activity in the region and I would encourage businesses to continue to investigate their own export opportunities to see for themselves if they can benefit from them however I would stress this is not an area to go it alone.
This was a message echoed throughout the campaign, no ulterior motives, it simply highlighted that experts are available and you should tap into them if this is an area you wish to explore. There is a great deal of support available and I would encourage anyone thinking of exporting to take advantage of everything that is available to them from organisations like the UKTI.
This is another factor that brought a smile to my face – as the campaign message about seeking advice and support from the professionals has been evident throughout, advice that should be adhered to for in this instance it can help make the difference between success and failure.
There is no doubt that the impressive statistics helped ensure that this campaign got off to a flying start, and whilst it remains to be seen if it will encourage more businesses to start exporting I for one am delighted with the gusto and determination with which it has delivered the message regarding how beneficial exporting is to individual organisations and the economy. A simple message that packed a clear punch – now you just need to decide which direction you want to go in and if you are going to work with someone to help you get there.