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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:

Trade advisors

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:

Export Academy

The Export Academy has 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.

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.

SMEs will also have access to the new Ashfield Accelerator Grant, which can provide between £8000 to £30,000 to support costs associated with adopting new technologies, research and innovation, trading overseas, decarbonisation and workforce development projects. 

Go Global

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.

Markets guides

You can download free market guides to support your research plans and sign up for business events near you.

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.

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.

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 (DIT). You can access the Export Support Service, where you will be put in touch with a member of 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.

Mentor City, USA

We are working in partnership with Mentor City to help UK businesses 'do business' in the US, by connecting them with the right people, such as lawyers, distributors, partners, and manufacturers. Mentor City can also help you identify investment opportunities and commercial sites should you wish to expand your operations and establish a base over there.

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, so 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: 17 May 2024