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UKTI launches online exporters’ platform



New web service provides companies with business leads provided by overseas embassies

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the government’s trade promotion body, has set up a portal to provide real time leads on export business as part of its Exporting is Great programme.

It has been developed with digital services start-up dxw with the aim of making it easier for exporting companies to find opportunities and make enquiries.

“Around a thousand new businesses register for our export service each month, but many opportunities are not being taken up even though we know the expertise exists in the UK,” said Jason Caplin, director of digital at UKTI.

“Our new campaign will inspire businesses and provide everything they need to take that first step to export success, from highlighting the latest opportunities to matching them with potential overseas partners and providing a comprehensive source of advice and support.”

It works through embassy staff in the relevant markets uploading details of importers looking for business that UK firms could fulfil. The entries are reviewed by UKTI staff to ensure they are accurate and easily understood before going live.

Open standards

Harry Metcalfe, managing director of dxw, told UKAuthority that the company worked with UKTI on the design of a form for the data uploaded by embassy staff. It conforms to open standards, and will provide the basis for building application programme interfaces (APIs), which is one of the next stages in the programme and will enable other service providers to use the data in future.

“There are a lot of people whose role it is help companies get more business, and companies whose professional service is to help people export more,” he said. “We want to make the data available to the professional service providers.”

He added that there is likely to be some re-engineering of the service as the team learns from the experience of people using it.

In its launch of the Exporting is Great programme, UKTI said it has already identified opportunities worth more than £300 million to go on the platform, and that more will go online each month.

Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Francis Maude said: “We are confident that through this campaign, by raising awareness of and providing access to these opportunities, together with giving companies the practical advice and guidance they need, we will inspire and support thousands of new companies in an exciting new venture of selling overseas.”




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