Over 20 companies from the South West of England attended the first ever Virtual Trade Missions to Mexico and Chile this month, with the last meetings taking place this week.
The aim of the forums was to help support independent businesses in the South West to grow their business through connecting with experts and potential customers in their sectors, accelerating their sales in Latin America.
Organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and led by Sarah Hildersley, DIT’s Market specialist for Latin America in the region, firms participated in briefing sessions with market experts and sector specialists as well as tailored one-to-one meetings.
The programme was worth approximately £2,500 to each company, and without travel costs and time taken to travel to these markets, there were additional savings.
Kate Richards, Director of Precision Dippings, who took part in the virtual trade mission to Mexico, said:
“After winning our second Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the international sales category last year, we feel confident that our innovative, products have great potential in Latin America.
“DIT South West and the Mexico UK Business Council have provided fantastic support and advice on Mexico. We have had access to the latest business news and market knowledge. We would recommend working with the DIT to help achieve successful international sales.”
Alex Sheen, Head of Sales at Sheppy’s Cider who attended the virtual trade mission to Chile said:
“DIT and their delivery partners, the British Chamber of Commerce in Chile, have been brilliant throughout the process of this initiative. I met credible distributors and speakers, helping me to develop new partnerships for exporting.
“Any company looking for help in developing their brands overseas should get involved in these events as they provide you with everything you need to be successful, and you have the opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t normally have access to.”
Representatives from the Mexico UK Business Council and British Chamber of Commerce in Chile attended the virtual missions along with international trade advisors from DIT and Business West.
Total UK exports to Mexico amounted to £2.5bn in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2020 and is another market that South West businesses are keen to expand into.
Total trade in goods and services between Chile and the UK for the year ending June 2019 was worth £2.2 billion, a 10.7% increase on the same period in 2018.
Sarah Hildersley, Market Specialist for Latin America for the Department for International Trade said:
“I was delighted to support such talented companies at the start of their journey exporting to Latin America. Both Chile and Mexico offer lucrative export opportunities with the right products and plenty of relationship building.
“This is the first time we’ve undertaken a Virtual Trade Mission, anywhere and I think the model for initiating business discussions this way will continue to thrive even when business travel returns to normality.
“I would encourage South West businesses looking to export to get in contact with us and make the most of overseas opportunities, especially as its advantageous to balance your sales across a range of markets.”
More information on the virtual trade missions can be found here.
For further information on DIT’s export support and international opportunities, visit www.great.gov.uk. Companies in the South West can find out about their export options and contact one of DIT’s International Trade Advisers by visiting this page.