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Government and business must collaborate to boost exports

Robert Hannah Robert Hannah

The Government’s Export Strategy sets out some ambitious targets and wide-ranging action to support UK businesses in boosting their international footprints, offering an overall admirable framework to support growth. 

For many businesses, sustainable growth in a Brexit-dominated domestic environment is likely to be harder to come by over the next few years. So the Government’s support in promoting and facilitating the benefits of exporting is crucial – particularly as successful exporters generate wealth at home, further creating jobs and opportunities in the domestic market.

The announcement outlines many of the challenges businesses we speak with face in boosting exports – particularly at small and mid-sized level. So it’s encouraging to see Government has taken their concerns on board and is developing practical solutions to support them going abroad.

There seems a common understanding between business and Government that we need a new way of thinking around exports. The strategy should act as a trigger for further and continued engagement between the two in light of the generational opportunity to rethink, and renegotiate, Britain’s role in global commerce.

Collaboration and connectivity surface as underpinning elements of the strategy – two ingredients we see as vital to its success and to broader economic growth. To be effective, this must go beyond a simple ‘networking’ exercise and become embedded as a cultural norm in businesses.

For instance, we could see this thinking develop into a new form of CSR – Corporate Support Responsibility – whereby UK firms of different size and complexity seek to support one another in various new ways, such as supply chain insight, sharing connections, distribution channel access, etc. 

From our conversations with dynamic businesses across the country, we know that the appetite is there to both contribute and benefit in meaningful ways. They just need the platforms and tools to better connect at scale. This is where Government has the opportunity to truly add value by offering a trusted structure to collaborate and proactively drive growth.

The export strategy sets the groundwork for future success. But it should by no means be interpreted as a fait accompli. The real work starts now, as Britain negotiates its future relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. In the spirit of collaboration and connectivity, business and Government must continue working together to ensure the outcome of these negotiations fits everyone’s needs as best possible.

For more information or to discuss the new Government Export Strategy please email Robert Hannah.