By Kate Madley

UK Trade & Industry (UKTI) is calling on Welsh SMEs to take part in Export Week, a UK-wide initiative that aims to highlight growth opportunities for businesses looking to export.

The UK has traditionally had a strong domestic economy, but the UKTI now aims to double the number of British businesses exporting to 50,000 by 2015. The increase could add £36 billion to the economy and would bring the percentage of British exporters in line with the European average.

The message behind Export Week is simple: if you have a good product, there are opportunities to export. In Wales, a string of events have been organised to support this.

“Encouraging and supporting companies to export and trade internationally is a key priority for the Welsh Government,” said Business Minister Edwina Hart.

“Increasing exports is vitally important for the wider Welsh economy, and we are working closely with UKTI to ensure companies in Wales can take advantage of new market opportunities overseas.”

The week begins with a multi-sector trade mission departing for China, the fifth international trade visit in the Welsh Government’s latest programme to boost international trade.

The Minister said: “We have an extensive programme of trade missions this year and, in tandem with this drive, we are holding a series of workshops across Wales to provide help, support and advice to companies considering trading internationally.”

The Welsh Government is also leading a trip to Dusseldorf for the world’s largest event in the medical sector, Medica.

The visit to Germany is the largest delegation supported by the Welsh Government with 35 Welsh companies and organisations attending. The four day trade event features more than 4,300 exhibitors from 70 countries with 130,000 visitors expected to attend.

“Increased trade and export activity is a key part of the strategy for Welsh Life Sciences to raise its international profile, attract more Life Sciences research and innovation to Wales, and to speed up the bringing of new discoveries to a global market,” said Ms Hart.

“I am delighted to see companies across Wales are backing this approach and taking advantage of Welsh Government support to attend Medica and make the most of the business opportunities it presents.

“The Welsh Government is committed to making Wales the best possible environment for Life Sciences innovation and business growth, and I wish the companies every success in Dusseldorf.”

Meanwhile, in the Creative Industries sector, Export Week will see a roadshow raise awareness of the sector specific benefits of international trade.

More than half of the monetary value of the UK’s exports is from SMEs. In Wales, as 99% of enterprises are classed as SMEs or micro-businesses, one of the keys to sustained growth is clearly getting more of them to export.

Export Week will be showcased through over 100 events taking place across Britain in a bid to encourage new exporters and provide practical advice for existing exporters. For more information visit UKTI.