07:20 Tuesday 29th July 2014
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: A campaign to encourage businesses to get exporting will launch in Peterborough today. The Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Livingston will find out how local businesses are faring when it comes to selling their products to other countries. He’ll taste the coffee at Masterroast’s HQ, before visiting the headquarters of Redring Xpelair, where they’ll launch new state-of-the-art production facilities that will cost £10 million. Neil Darwin is the Director for Enterprise and Skills at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.
NEIL DARWIN: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: So get exporting initiative. What does it actually mean? Just words?
NEIL DARWIN: Very simply it’s about encouraging more businesses to get their goods and services overseas. Exporting from this country has a really bad reputation, something that’s seen as being really difficult to do. And what we’re trying to do is de-myth it, and make sure that business understands there is support and advice available to make it a lot lot easier than perhaps they think it is.
PAUL STAINTON; Right. So basically businesses are sat there thinking, you know we’d love that market in China, but I haven’t got the foggiest of how to approach it.
NEIL DARWIN: That’s correct. It’s not just China either. Everyone seems to think we just need to export to China and India, but there are plenty of easier markets to target, such as Western Europe, which aren’t terribly far away either. So that’s exactly the kind of company we’re looking for.
PAUL STAINTON: And this is big markets, and expanding markets of course.
NEIL DARWIN: Well they are, they’re massive markets. Last year exporting was worth to this part of the country £27 billion. We only export 10% of the total country’s exports, so we could do better, we could do a lot better. And there are, as you say, big numbers involved.
PAUL STAINTON: Is it every business that you can help?
NEIL DARWIN: Pretty much actually. I was asked the question yesterday. Pretty much any business for a good or a service. You mentioned the companies that Lord Livingston is going to see this morning. Who would have thought from Peterborough we export coffee across the planet? He’s also meeting a company called Lemark from Huntingdon who export duct tape. So literally anything and everything can be exported. As long as someone wants to buy it, there’s a market for it.
PAUL STAINTON: It’s amazing. I didn’t realise we exported coffee around the world. It’s not where you expect to see coffee beans growing, Peterborough, is it?
NEIL DARWIN: Well it’s not the beans that are grown obviously, but yes, you’re right. It’s not the kind of place where you’d expect that kind of activity.
PAUL STAINTON: No. Do we have a reputation worldwide? Do Cambridgeshire products, British products, still carry that sort of kite mark of reputation?
NEIL DARWIN:They do . We completely underexploit the fact that we are one of the oldest trading nations . We have a very very strong reputation for quality, quality of product, quality of service. And basically we still have a reputation that everyone wants to trade with us.
PAUL STAINTON: If businesses are listening this morning, somebody who’s running a business thinks, how do I do this, how do I get involved, what do they do?
NEIL DARWIN: They come by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership GCGP website, which is www.gcgp.co.uk, and get in contact with us. And we will help them from there. We’re working with partners such as UK Trade and Investment, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce, and again we will just make it far far simpler than perhaps they envisage it being to start to open up these markets.
PAUL STAINTON: Neil, thank you. Neil Darwin, Director for Enterprise and Skills at the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership.