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Exporting can be the key to future growth

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14 November 2014

Ruth Dooley, tax adviser and Partner at Hazlewoods, looks at how exporting is playing an important part in the growth of some of the county’s most successful companies-both now and in the future.

Gloucestershire has an incredible diversity of businesses both in terms of size and sector.  As we all know, it is a wonderful place to live and work, and we all benefit when Gloucestershire businesses thrive.

If we just take a few of the top businesses in our county, they range from Supergroup (providing fashion clothing) to St James’ Place (wealth management advisers) Renishaw (metrology and healthcare products) and Mears Group (maintaining social housing and providing domiciliary care). 

So what lessons can we learn from these impressive companies?  There are many features to their respective success, but some of them have grown on the back of an adventurous and enterprising export strategy. 

Take Renishaw for instance. Since 1973 the Wotton-under-Edge based company has grown to more than 60 offices in 32 countries and 94% of its sales are now made outside the UK.  Along the way the company has also managed to pick up seventeen Queen’s Awards. 

Then there is SuperGroup which was started as Cult Clothing by founder Julian Dunkerton on a market stall and then a small store in Cheltenham.   Today, through its own shops, its franchises, licenses, concessions and the web, its leading brand, Superdry, is sold in over 100 countries worldwide.

Inspired by these fantastic roles models, local companies should also know that exporting UK companies are responsible for 60% of our national productivity growth.  Also, 58% of entrepreneurs active abroad, have said that this has led to levels of growth for their businesses, not otherwise possible.

No wonder, therefore, that the Government are pushing the export agenda and giving financial backing to businesses that want to start exporting, or improve their strategy, through UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), organisers of the current Export Week. 

The great news is that, for eligible businesses, UKTI can provide grant funding to help implement an export plan.  That can make a massive difference to the viability of a venture overseas.  If this is of interest to you, make a date to talk to one of Gloucestershire’s incredibly helpful UKTI trade advisers as soon as possible.

Advice and help is also available for businesses, large or small, with export ambitions from many other sources.  This includes accountancy and tax help from Hazlewoods, as we are part of an international network of accountants, called HLB International, which gives us access to local advisers in over 100 countries.

In the last few weeks we have seen a new milestone for the business community in Gloucestershire with the opening of the doors at the Growth Hub in Gloucester

This unique collaboration between the University of Gloucestershire and GFirst LEP, the Local Enterprise Partnership, is now  the ‘go to’ place for companies wanting help with their businesses needs. 

The Growth Hub will act as a signposting centre to the help that is already available for all types of businesses, but which previously has not always been known about. The Growth Hub will have a distinct focus on encouraging local companies to export more.

Let’s hope it will help produce the Renishaws and SuperGroups of the future in Gloucestershire.