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British retailers offered government help with their online export plans

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We’ve seen extensive evidence in recent months that British retailers are looking to new markets in order to grow their sales and expand their businesses. Now support has come from the Government as well.

This week business secretary Vince Cable unveiled a programme to support 7,000 small and medium-sized businesses as they export overseas.

“Britain’s 220,000 online retailers export more than the rest of Europe’s e-retailers combined, but other countries are catching up fast,” said Cable, making the announcement this week.

“UK companies need to stay ahead of the game and capitalise on the rapid growth of mobile technology and social media to find new international customers.”

The programme will include the development of 40 support networks in high growth areas including China, India and the UAE, as well as a UKTI Grow Online, Expand Worldwide campaign with support for 4,000 aspiring web exporters through awareness raising sessions, webinars and international web workshops; ecommerce masterclasses for 1,200 web export-ready businesses; one-to-one expert advice, website reviews and action planning for 1,500 web exporters; and help for 600 UK retailers to list their products on leading international marketplaces such as Alibaba in China and Tejuri in the Gulf.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium , which is working with UKTI on the initiative, said: 
“British retailers, large and small, are in a strong position to seize the opportunity the web-based revolution has brought. Even the smallest retailers have a massive opportunity to expand their businesses through exporting to new markets.”

Our view: This is welcome recognition of the part that online exports play in the British retail market, and welcome support for the sector as well. No doubt among the small businesses being helped today will be the large international businesses of the future.

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