An independent evaluation report has revealed that regional international trade and inward investment programmes have generated approximately £118.6 million Gross Value Added (GVA) and created or safeguarded over 2,000 jobs in the region over a five-year period.
The findings, released today by the South West RDA and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), show that between the period 2004 and 2009, approximately 376 businesses were supported by the RDA’s investment of £2.9million to enhance the activities of UKTI’s existing Passport to Export programme.
The Passport programme encourages and develops the skills of businesses that are new to exporting. Support includes business mentoring, training and targeted financial support for overseas market research.
Approximately 70% of these firms stated that the Passport programme had helped them and that export turnover had increased by 18% over the course of the programme. Over 70% of the new export markets were in Europe.
Stephen Peacock, executive director of enterprise and innovation at the RDA, said: “I am delighted that this independent report recognises the value generated by our highly effective partnership with UK Trade & Investment. The GVA, job creation and ROI delivered across both the international trade support and inward investment programmes are a clear demonstration of the tangible difference we have been able to make for local businesses and the regional market.”
UKTI south west international trade director Russell Jones added: “Given the current challenges for businesses in the UK, exporting provides south west businesses with alternative markets to achieve levels of growth that are not possible domestically. With the global economy set to double in size over the next two decades, largely driven by the activities of countries like China, Brazil and India, it’s essential that south west companies are prepared to seize the opportunity and compete in these markets.”