Connecting exporters from the Leeds City Region

£7m of new funding for overseas trade for Yorkshire SMEs

Yorkshire businesses that are new to exporting or already selling overseas could be eligible for match-funded grants of up to £5,000 towards the costs of investigating new international markets. The £6.7m European programme was highlighted at an event in York this week.

Under the £6.7m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Exporting for Growth programme SMEs in the Leeds and Sheffield City Regions and the Humber LEP can access matched funding of up to 60 per cent of the costs of developing exports.

Investment eligible for financial support under the programme, which is delivered by Enterprise Growth Solutions (EGS), includes overseas travel, international exhibition costs, language training and export consultancy. Registering products in new markets and developing internationally targeted marketing materials is also eligible.

The ExportExchange event, attended by 40 experienced and fledgling export businesses from the Leeds City Region, heard from firms who had been among the first to receive funding under the Exporting for Growth programme.

Leeds-based learner analytics business, Solutionpath, which has developed highly specialised software to enable universities to monitor and measure student ‘engagement’ levels, increasing student retention levels and boosting the numbers of top class degrees, has secured funding to launch an export campaign to the US and Australia.
Solutionpath sales director, David Cole, said: “We are still in the early stages of exporting, but the matched funding is enabling us to explore the American universities and colleges, as-well as those in Australia.

“The US is a huge market for learning analytics, especially in the realms of higher education. The US has 2,700 universities compared to just over 100 in the UK, so there is a huge scope for us to sell to that market. The ERDF, along with networking opportunities created from the LEP, has enabled us to invest in our digital profile, to reach the US.”

Other panel members sharing their exporting experiences included leather sofa and armchair maker Distinctive Chesterfields, based in Honley near Huddersfield; filler and sealant products manufacturer Polyseam in Huddersfield; York-based crafting kits company Polkadoodles; Myroo Skincare in Harrogate; and Leeds-based North Brewing Company.

Victoria Boldison, network manager of ExportExchange, said: “The new source of ERDF funding will be a great help for many small businesses in Yorkshire that are struggling to meet some of the costs involved in investigating and penetrating overseas markets. Finding the money to make that step is very often the catalyst that enables overseas trade, and we are looking forward to hearing more success stories as the Exporting for Growth programme becomes more widely known.”
ExportExchange organises a series of quarterly events bringing experienced and would-be exporters together, to inform on key issues and to provide interaction between ‘patrons’, or experienced exporters, and businesses. The events are also designed to help businesses navigate the range of overseas trade resources available regionally.

More information on Exporting for Growth and details of how to apply for funding are available here