Sheffield rallies in bid to drive up exports

Sheffield  Coun Leigh Bramall
Sheffield Coun Leigh Bramall

Sheffield City Council this week committed itself to helping businesses across the region to step up exports.

It is launching an international trade and export strategy with the priority of supporting small and medium sized businesses.

The authority said that SMEs were the foundation of the local economy, contributing around half of the employment and turnover, and boosting exports was a “strong route” towards increased private sector growth.

Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development, said: “The city needs to do all that it can to support our businesses with growth potential to export their products and services to overseas markets.

“This includes helping more of our businesses that are not exporting to do so as well as helping those that currently export to look to growing markets for new business opportunities.

“There is real potential out there for businesses across the city region to make the most of trade and export. As a council we want to provide key help and support for businesses, enabling them to open up new markets and reach their full potential.”

The strategy aims to establish an export support framework to overcome significant export barriers, ultimately creating jobs for Sheffield people.

It sees the council working with UK Trade & Investment, South Yorkshire International Trade Centre and South Yorkshire International Trade Forum.

William Beckett, chairman of the South Yorkshire International Trade Forum, said: “We have been working closely together in partnership over the past few months to develop these proposals and we strongly believe that, subject to approval from the UK Government, the export and trade interventions set out in the plan will achieve a significant step change in the city region’s export performance, contributing towards the UK export targets and helping to eliminate the trade deficit.”

*The council has spent £800,000 over the first 18 months of its Keep Sheffield Working Fund, helping over 90 businesses to achieve short term growth, including exports.

It says the initiative has resulted in securing £2,110,000 from partners and private sector match funding. The council is now looking to allocate a further £200,000.