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Export event to showcase how Yorkshire businesses are ‘just getting on with it’

Photo: Chris Black, Sound Leisure

Just two weeks before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU, some of Yorkshire’s business leaders will discuss how they are planning for Brexit and will be sharing their experiences with other exporters in the Leeds City Region.

Taking place at The West Park Hotel in Harrogate on 14 March, the ‘BrExport’ breakfast round table event will be co-hosted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and ExportExchange, with several of the peer-to-peer export advice service’s patrons in attendance to share their experiences.

Victoria Boldison, network manager at ExportExchange, said: “Having polled over 100 exporters and our 60 patrons to ask what they wanted to see from our 2019 series of events, the number one request was to learn about what other companies are doing to work around the uncertainties of Brexit. The event will be a really positive exchange of information and ideas, and we hope to attract new firms to join the ExportExchange network and benefit from the experience of other Yorkshire business people who are getting on with exporting, regardless of the political situation.”

The breakfast discussion will be chaired by IoD ambassador and strategic business mentor Tony Webster of Wayfinder, and will feature a panel of experts including some of the region’s most experienced exporters such as Chris Black of Sound Leisure, Garry Nield of Taylors of Harrogate, and Ian Garner of Practical Solutions Management.

Black, Nield and Garner, all patrons of the free to join ExportExchange network, have all mentored other would-be or growing exporters to help boost the region’s trade outside the UK.

The event, open to directors of companies throughout the Leeds City Region, will look at the ways in which Yorkshire businesses are mitigating the risks presented by Brexit, with the panel sharing how they plan to continue to grow their overseas presence in the coming months and years, whatever the political turbulence.

Chris Black said: “After two years of uncertainty and supposition, businesses are still in the dark about the likely impact of us leaving the EU, however, it is vital they continue to drive forward their exports. Whatever your own political views, taking practical steps to ensure your business is in the best possible position to continue its export journey, regardless of current global uncertainties, should be a priority.

“Like many other Yorkshire firms, we’re just getting on with it and exporting despite the potential Brexit outcomes or the mooted US tariff changes. We’re doing everything we can to look at the various scenarios and plan ahead. Nobody knows what will happen over the coming weeks and months, but we have to plan around that unhelpful reality, and consider various potential changes and situations,” he added.

Natalie Sykes, regional director of the IoD in Yorkshire and the North East, said: “Whilst Westminster remains shrouded in the thick fog that is Brexit, we are delighted to be working with ExportExchange to support regional businesses who want to harness the opportunities presented by global trade to enable them to grow.

“True to the IoD’s mission of creating a better economy and better directors, we want to support our business leaders to deliver more – more business, more growth, more job creation and more for our local communities.”

Businesses interested in attending the event, which runs from 8.30am to 10am on Thursday 14 March at The West Park Hotel, 9 West Park, Harrogate, should register interest via the ExportExchange website.

The ExportExchange initiative, which launched in 2017 to bring together experts in overseas trade within firms from the Leeds City Region, has helped share exporting knowledge with many growing exporters who have registered to receive advice from experienced Yorkshire mentors or ‘patrons’.

The ExportExchange ‘Live’ quarterly events have been designed to provide real life examples of export opportunities and the resources available to new or growing exporters, from grants and matched funding to export documentation, research services and loan funding.

The ExportExchange programme is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and supported by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Department for International Trade (DIT), and a number of private sector export specialists.

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