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East Anglia: Trade Minister Lord Livingston highlights UKTI support for SME exporters

12:04 30 January 2014

Lord (Ian) Livingston, Trade and Investment Minister.

Lord (Ian) Livingston, Trade and Investment Minister.

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Trade Minister Lord Livingston pledged his support for small and medium-sized businesses today as he began a series of meetings and visits involving 20 companies around the East of England.

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On his first visit to the region since his appointment last year, former BT chief executive Lord Livingston heard a first-hand about the experiences of companies currently looking to export overseas and encouraged businesses to work with UK Trade & Investment, (UKTI) .

The visit follows the announcement last week that every medium-sized business in the country will be offered tailored export advice and an intensive programme of support to help them start exporting or break into new markets.

UKTI, the Government body charged with driving trade and investment, says evidence shows that exporters do better with its help and that, on average, medium-sized businesses can increase their sales by £1.8million. Currently medium-sized businesses contribute around a fifth of employment and turnover in the UK, but only 17% of them generate revenues outside of the EU compared with 25% in Germany and 30% in Italy.

UKTI is also raising awareness of its services with smaller companies through a new national marketing campaign, Exporting is GREAT.

Lord Livingston said: “Increasing the number of UK businesses which sell overseas is a fundamental building block of the Government’s long-term economic plan.

“The East of England has an exceptional record for innovation with market-leading small and medium-sized businesses already at the forefront of their sectors. I’m in the region today to hear from these companies and ensure they are getting the support they need to maximise the export potential of their business.

“Businesses excel with UKTI’s support and we want to make sure that they are not just trading abroad, but growing there.”

Among the companies Lord Livingston is due to meet today are mid-sized technology company e2v, based in Chelmsford, which supplied a one billion pixel imaging device for the recently launched Gaia satellite and provides units which drive 90% of the world’s cancer readio therapy systems, and Contamac, a small firm based in Saffron Walden, which has bcome a major supplier of polymer materials for contact lenses after being launched in 1987 with an initial investment of £1,000.

Marc Saunders, group marketing and technology director at e2v, said: “The UKTI offers a valuable range of services. Their breadth and depth of genuinely local market knowledge and their research capability can be of great help to even experienced exporters like e2v”.

John McGregor, managing director at Contamac, added: “The visit of Lord Livingston reinforces the Government’s appreciation of the contribution that SMEs make to the economy. Contamac are delighted to have the support of UKTI in extending our export initiatives. We hope that other SMEs will take full advantage of the support recently announced.”

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