The following article was featured in the "Top 100 Businesses in Gloucestershire" supplement released by Gloucestershire Media
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’s Place (wealth management advisers) to Renishaw (with their 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.
Since 1973 Renishaw has grown to more than 60 offices in 32 countries, with 94% of their sales now being made outside the UK. Along the way, the company has managed to pick up 17 Queen’s Awards.
SuperGroup started as Cult Clothing, a small store in Cheltenham. Today, through its own stores, its franchises, licences, concessions and the web, its leading brand, Superdry, is sold in over 100 countries worldwide.
Inspired by these fantastic role 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.
It is no wonder 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).
The great news is that, for eligible businesses, UKTI can provide grant funding for up to a third of the costs of implementing 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, HLB International, which gives us access to local advisers in over 100 countries.
In a few months’ time the doors will open to the Growth Hub. This unique collaboration between the University of Gloucestershire and GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership is set to be the ‘go to’ place for companies wanting help with their businesses’ needs.
The Growth Hub will act as a signposting centre for help that is already available for all types of businesses, but not known to them. The Growth Hub will have a distinct focus on encouraging local companies to export more, hopefully producing the Renishaws and SuperGroups of the future.