“Exporting for Growth” seminar a great success

4th July 2012

Alok Sharma, MP for Reading West and Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury held a seminar on “Exporting for Growth” on Friday 29th June 2012, to offer practical advice and assistance to local businesses interested in growing their exports or starting to export for the first time.

The event which was sponsored by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVB LEP) was held at the Madejski Conference Centre and was attended by around 100 people representing more than 70 local businesses in Reading and West Berkshire.

The seminar was opened by Alok Sharma and Richard Benyon, who welcomed attendees and outlined their vision for an export led recovery.

The first presentation was given by Steve Lamb, Chair of TVB LEP and Senior Director at Oracle and Emma Gibson, Director at TVB LEP and a Partner at Shoosmiths who spoke about the local Berkshire economy, the priorities of the Local Enterprise Partnership and how businesses could get involved with the local business community to “Collaborate for Growth”.

Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, who is responsible for the Government’s agenda for increasing exports, then spoke to attendees about the need to reform the economy away from a reliance on consumption fuelled by debt towards a more sustainable model based on trade and inward investment. Lord Green also answered questions from business leaders on what the Government was doing to improve access to finance.

Rob Lewtas Strategic Partner Manager for UK Trade & Investment South East set out what support is available to businesses looking to explore overseas markets, with advice on key target markets to approach.

Chris Dodson OBE, Chair of the Institute of Directors South region and Chairman of the Torftech Group gave a firsthand account of his experience of working with export licences and gave practical best-practice advice.

Speaking after the event, Alok Sharma said: “There has been a great response from the business community to this event and I was delighted with the turnout for the seminar. The speakers represented a huge amount of business experience and they set out some good practical advice for attendees.”

Alok continued: “We want to build on this seminar and hold further events in the coming months where attendees get to hear the experiences of other local firms which are successfully exporting to the growth economies and learn from these case studies.”

Richard Benyon said: “I was delighted to see so many local businesses represented at this excellent event and to see their enthusiasm for increasing exports as a way to grow their businesses. I hope that the seminar has inspired some of our local companies to start exporting and that they can now do so equipped with up to date knowledge on what assistance is available.”

Steve Lamb said: “The Thames Valley is the engine of the UK economy, and ensuring SMEs grow their businesses is one of the TVB LEP’s top priorities, in order to maintain our competitive environment. We are always keen to facilitate and signpost local businesses and exporting for growth is one of the key ways in which we believe business can increase their profitability and thereby grow the economy. It was great to see so many Thames Valley businesses at today’s seminar, and we look forward to meeting many more at future events.”

Photos: Richard Benyon (MP for Newbury), Alok Sharma (MP for Reading West) and Lord Green (Minister for Trade and Investment)


Steve Lamb (Chair of Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership), Barry Lewis (Branch Chairman IoD Berkshire), Alok Sharma (MP for Reading West) Emma Gibson (Director at Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership), Robert Lewtas (Strategic Partner Manager for UK Trade & Investment South East), Richard Benyon (MP for Newbury), Chris Dodson OBE (Chair of the Institute of Directors South region)