This is the second in a series of blogs about my experiences of starting my journey into exporting as part of my business growth strategy.
In the first blog I outlined how I began my journey and the initial experience of working with UKTI.
This time I am focusing on my decision to attend an Aid Funded Business Trade Mission to Barbados.
Serendipity or Good Planning?
Whether you believe in coincidence or not, it seemed amazing to me that within weeks of making the decisions to pursue exporting and identifying the countries that I was most interested in working in (the Caribbean and USA), I received notification from UKTI of a Trade Mission to Barbados.
Great, just the sort of thing I had identified with my Trade Advisor as part of my strategy.
But, this Mission was for Aid Funded Business – how relevant would that be to me and what is all about?
What is Aid Funded Business?
It may come as a surprise to know that “Multilateral” agencies such as the UN and the World Bank spend billions every year on contracting out projects to the private sector.
This means that there are huge opportunities for UK companies of all shapes and sizes for goods and services in a variety of sectors including construction, transport, environmental and consultancy.
Why Is Aid Funded Business an option?
If you read the UKTI website FAQs about Aid Funded Business,it is very helpful and compelling.
For me it was a “no brainer” because I have always worked with and for organisations with a clear social purpose and because I am passionate about sustainable development. So this route to exporting ticks the boxes for me.
But Where do you start?
It wasn’t simply a matter of signing up for the Trade Mission and waiting see what transpired as a result.
Not only is attending a Trade Mission a major investment (time and money), you also need to be very clear about what you want to gain from the experience.
At risk of sounding like a UKTI advert, I spent a lot of time speaking to my Adviser about the Mission before deciding to attend. As well as putting me in touch with the experts in the organisation, she also introduced me to Hadford Howell, Head of Trade & Investment for Barbados & the Eastern Caribbean. As I was due to travel to Barbados a few months before the Mission, I took the opportunity of meeting with Hadford and it was enormously helpful.
I would also advise you to research, research, research. There’s no such thing as too much information when it comes to making a big decision about whether or not Aid Funded Business is right your company.
If you are taking your first steps into exporting, or thinking about it, I would suggest that you explore Aid Funded Business as an option. You may be pleasantly surprised.
As always, I would welcome your views and feedback and would like to hear about your experiences too.
In the next blog I will tell you about what I got out of attending the Trade Mission.