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North East based SMEs also employ more than 2,000 to run their sales activities on Amazon

New research published today shows that businesses from across the North-East employ over 2,000 people in the UK and last year exported products worth more than £67m by selling on Amazon.

Amazon offers a suite of support tools to help businesses export their products and services, including providing global delivery and distribution, managing customer services in the local language and translating hundreds of millions of product listings each year on behalf of small businesses. As a result, six-in-ten UK-based businesses selling on Amazon now export abroad, with more than half of all sales on Amazon’s global sites coming from independent third party businesses.

The independent research conducted by economics consultancy Keystone Strategy also found that North East based SMEs employ more than 2,000 people to run their sales activities on Amazon.

The research was published to coincide with the first Amazon Academy in Newcastle, taking place today, where hundreds of local SMEs will benefit from free, practical information and advice on how to grow their export sales and succeed in the digital economy. The Amazon Academy will offer local SMEs free workshops with information, tips and insights on how to use e-commerce to grow their business as well as boost export sales and improve their productivity through digital tools and services.

The event is run in partnership with Enterprise Nation, the Department for International Trade and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, with attendees able to hear expert advice from these organisations, as well as a host of small businesses who have achieved their own e-commerce and export success.

“We’re seeing record numbers of SMEs in the North East harness the power of digital to sell their products and services to customers nationally and internationally,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “Through programmes like the Amazon Academy, we want to help small businesses in Newcastle and across the North East grow their revenue, increase their productivity and boost exports, to help build a stronger economy and create more jobs in the region.”

Since launching in 2016, the Amazon Academy programme has helped over 2,000 SMEs and individuals in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester learn how to grow their businesses through greater digital adoption, and forms parts of the company’s ongoing efforts to help SMEs from across the UK grow their businesses, in particular by boosting their e-commerce and export sales.

The Amazon Academy comes during a time when SMEs in the North East are expecting to grow their revenues in the next 12 months, despite business confidence in the region remaining low. The SME Growth Tracker, a report by Capital Economics commissioned by Amazon UK and Enterprise Nation that assesses confidence and growth prospects of UK SMEs, found that whilst North East businesses predict higher growth in the coming 12 months, their confidence for the future is in decline. Against that backdrop of low confidence however, small local businesses who use e-commerce project faster overall revenue growth in the coming 12 months than those that don’t use e-commerce.

“Websites like Amazon are a great way for SMEs in the North East to break into international markets, and Amazon’s Academy event in Newcastle mirrors our mission to help local SMEs grow their business online,” added Emma Jones MBE, Founder, Enterprise Nation which provides expert advice and support for over 90,000 of Britain’s SMEs. “Businesses can reach their true potential by embracing digital technology for export sales, and I’m looking forward to meeting hundreds of SMEs and entrepreneurs at the event in Newcastle as we help them expand their horizons with talks, workshops and more.”

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership will also support the Amazon Academy in Newcastle. Colin Bell, Business Growth Director for the North East LEP added: “The North East is a fantastic place to do business, and events like the Amazon Academy will help propel SMEs in our region to the next level by helping them learn how to export their goods and services around the world. It’s fantastic to welcome Amazon and Enterprise Nation to Newcastle for what’s sure to be an engaging, informative and educational event for business owners of all shapes and sizes.”