Small army of British firms land in New York

The 65-strong collective of up-and-coming UK firms looking to take off in the US, is part of an unprecedented small business trade mission lead by entrepreneur Emma Jones, founder of small business network Enterprise Nation.

The two-day curated visit, subsidised and backed by London Gatwick Airport, worldwide leader in logistics UPS, global technology giant HP, PayPal and UKTI, is part of a wider 12 month programme of activity aimed at driving export growth amongst the UK’s small business community.

The mission comes in the light of a new report, out this week, which found British firms that export beyond the EU saw the highest growth compared to firms that only export within the European Union.

The findings from UK SME Exporting Insights, commissioned by UPS, showed 72 per cent of firms that exported beyond European borders saw growth.

While in New York, British delegates will have a hectic schedule including face-to-face meetings with US-based e-commerce platforms including Etsy, Indiegogo and Squarespace, as well as with angel and tech investors like Judith Clegg and Heidi Messer – both are British, but their investment work straddles the Atlantic.

There will be visits to meet New York’s hottest start-ups and intensive networking session with US firms keen to source products and services from the UK.

Emma Jones said: “It’s clear exporting is an important route to growth, and yet trade missions often focus on large and medium sized firms – partly because costs and time commitments often make them inaccessible to the smallest firms and start-ups.

“We wanted to offer a short, affordable opportunity for the growing number of small businesses in this country to help open up valuable connections, meet the right people and literally take their business to the rest of the world.

“An an excellent contact on the ground is an invaluable asset – and the chance to explore international markets in person can often elude even the most passionate entrepreneur.

“The trip will herald a 12 month national campaign which will include workshops, online webinars and access to advice from experts in global trade.”

There will also be an address from the US’s small business lobbying organisation, Freelancers Union.

The Go Global campaign, launched last night/Thursday September 25 aboard a Norwegian Air Shuttle flight from Gatwick to New York will offer expert advice on international trade to destinations including the US, China, India and Europe and will also cover international social media, website translation, technology for working on the move, and shipping.

Norwegian launched its low cost US routes from Gatwick in July – introducing new, more competitive transatlantic fares to the market.

George Willis, Managing Director, UK, Ireland and the Nordics, UPS said: “With ‘Brand Britain’ continuing to drive investment into the UK, there is a strong opportunity for ambitious SMEs to look to international markets to grow their businesses. However our recent research conducted with SME owners across Europe, found that perceived risks including administrative burden and a lack of information regarding customs regulations, are holding back businesses from exporting for the first time.

“At UPS we work with businesses big and small to take the unknown factor of international shipping out of the equation, allowing them to focus on what they do best, providing high quality products and services to their customers. We understand that having access to the knowledge, resources and a guiding partner during the first stages of export is vital to give young businesses the confidence they need to explore new markets and we are delighted to be partnering with Enterprise Nation on this important trade mission to the US, an ideal first market for small businesses to export to for the first time.”

Stewart Wingate, CEO of London Gatwick, said: “Businesses of all sizes need connections to key markets and we are delighted the UK’s biggest small business mission to New York has chosen Gatwick as its launchpad. Gatwick is consistently increasing its share of the business travel market, with 20% of passengers now flying for business. Small business thrives on securing value for money and Norwegian’s ground-breaking low cost, long haul routes from Gatwick to the US are demonstrating how much the aviation industry has changed and enabling more small businesses to explore vital new markets.”