Importing and exporting
There is plenty to take into account when a business wants to start trading overseas. Learn about how to help your business succeed in international markets through advice, guides, and contacts.
Department for Business and Trade (DBT)
The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) works closely with UK-based businesses to ensure success in international markets, by helping to export products and services overseas. The department has access to a large network of contacts in more than 100 international markets, including staff in embassies and consulates around the globe. They are well-positioned to research opportunities and help your business break into new markets.
DBT can support your business with the following services:
Local businesses can book a free 30-minute video consultation with an international trade advisor.
You can contact our local Department for International Trade (DIT) advisor at:
The Export Academy provides free webinars, round table meetings, and mentoring sessions, to teach how to sell to customers around the world with confidence. If you finish the entire programme, you will graduate with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers.
During January to February 2024, the academy has some brand-new market specific webinars, covering more than 15 countries. These sessions are perfect if you are looking for inspiration for your first or next global market.
You can attend sessions to find out more about the opportunities in the following markets: 1. France 2. South Asia (specifically Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka) 3. CPTPP countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam). 4. Africa 5. USA 6. Turkey
Ashfield Accelerator Project: Trading Overseas
The programme is being delivered by East Midlands Chamber and is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). It forms part of Ashfield District Council's new Accelerator Programme and offers support to local businesses to ‘tap into’ global markets. Sole trader, micro, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be supported by specialist consultants to address any import and export challenges, including finding new markets, suppliers, distributors, and trade events.
- closes: 31 March 2025
- website: Ashfield Accelerator Project
Enterprise Nation and Santander have partnered to provide free guidance, training, and tailored support to help UK businesses sell overseas. This programme is delivered online and consists of webinars, e-learning modules, and e-books, to give businesses all the support and guidance they need to kickstart and grow their international trading.
- email: Gráinne O’Neill, programme manager - email@example.com
- website: Go Global - Free resources
You can download free market guides to support your research plans and sign up for business events near you.
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- website: Department for International Trade - Overseas markets information
Get help to sell online worldwide
Let the Department for International Trade (DIT) help you export your products to consumers around the world through online marketplaces.
Connect with international buyers
Let buyers find you by setting up a free business profile that highlights your company’s projects and experiences, and give buyers an insight into what you do.
- website: Create a business profile on GOV.UK
Other overseas trading resources
Open to Export
Open to Export is a free online information service for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for support to grow internationally by exporting from the UK. Companies can work together and share information, advice, and support about export market opportunities and means of entry. The information, answers, advice, and articles on Open to Export are all composed by the site's users, community, and key contributors.
- website: Open to export
International market export support
Find out if your business is eligible for tailored in-market support, as part of the Export Support Service from the Department for International Trade. You can access the Export Support Service, where you will be put in touch with a member of the export support team.
- website: GOV.UK - ask the export support team
Enterprise Nation International Trade Hub
The Enterprise Nation International Trade Hub provides advice and information on how small businesses can successfully import, export, and expand overseas. You can also use this hub to access Deloitte’s easy to use platform, which helps you submit your own customs declarations.
- website: International Trade Hub
Mentor City, USA
The US is the UK’s largest export market for goods and services, and accounts for 20.4% of all exports from the UK, which is worth £140.9 billion. Mentor City, in Ohio, has opportunities for local companies across a broad range of industries. It can help UK businesses ‘do business’ in the US, by connecting them with the right people such as lawyers, distributors, partners, and manufacturers. It can also identify investment opportunities and commercial sites, should you wish to expand your operations and establish a base over there.
If you’re serious about wanting to access new markets in the US, then the city of Mentor could be an excellent first step. Similarly, Mentor City has businesses wanting to establish trade links over here, so this offers an excellent opportunity for Ashfield businesses to explore mutually beneficial relationships and trade with the US.
Innovate UK Edge
If you want to break into international markets and adjacent sectors to ‘grow’ and ‘scale-up’, then Innovate UK Edge can help. It has lots of connections, expertise, and runs a series of targeted global programmes supported by industry specialists. Innovate UK Edge can help you learn about specific international markets and build relationships with overseas companies.
Page last updated: 16 February 2024