Airedale has taken up patron status with the newly formed ExportExchange. The initiative is an online and offline network which aims to help businesses within the Leeds city region and beyond to increase exports, grow revenues and support employment.
The ExportExchange programme is backed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), The Department for International Trade (DIT), and a number of private sector media, marketing and export specialists. ExportExchange was launched by Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the LEP, and Mariana Sudbury, director for the Northern Powerhouse for DIT, in Leeds on 30 June.
The launch saw guests from business in the Leeds City Region that are already successfully exporting come together as ‘patrons’ to back the programme. Asim Ansari, Head of Export Sales at Airedale International Air Conditioning was awarded patron status and is looking forward to pooling his expertise and know how to help developing Yorkshire firms prosper in overseas markets.
Ansari commented, “I am delighted to have been asked to be a patron with the ExportExchange. We are certainly facing a time of change both politically and economically. The developments of the last year have created many challenges, but also a wealth of opportunity. To be able to mobilise expertise throughout a wider ExportExchange programme is both exciting and necessary to ensure our economy can be sustained. By way of collaboration, the initiative is building a unique support network to help the next generation of Yorkshire based exporters.”
Under the ExportExchange programme, the patrons are all experienced exporters and business leaders from across the Leeds City Region. They are tasked with sharing their expertise on every aspect of exporting and growth with fledgling SME exporters. The peer-to-peer advice is central to the initiative and mentoring will also be on offer for businesses that are looking for help with overseas trading.
Included within the initiative is a bespoke online portal, www.ExportExchange.co.uk, that directs enquiries and requests for assistance securely to the most qualified and relevant patron. All of this support network is free to use.
Victoria Boldison, network manager for the initiative, said “Dozens of firms across Leeds, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Barnsley and York have already come to us and signed up online and forwarded specific enquiries during our testing and recruitment process. We are now opening the ExportExchange network to registrations from any business in the region. It takes just a couple of minutes to register and fire in a question or enquiry with a couple of clicks, it really is that simple.”
Quarterly events are planned as part of ExportExchange to bring experienced and would-be exporters together to help businesses navigate the range of overseas trade resources available regionally.
Marsh concluded: “Leeds City Region’s economic success depends on the growth of our business sector. That much-needed growth could come from selling more overseas, creating a positive impact for local businesses and the wider UK economy. ExportExchange is one more way we can help the people who run businesses, and we look forward to building a supportive and lively community.”
More information on the initiative and how to receive free overseas trade advice and support is available at: www.exportexchange.co.uk