Kent County Council and Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce have secured £90,000 funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to lead a new project to help small businesses to get into overseas markets. The SEED Project kicks off this month and will run for a year.
While visits to major international trade shows and the ability to travel abroad to do business are still very much on hold, this new project will focus on helping firms in the food and drink, life sciences and digital and creative sectors to make virtual connections in overseas markets including the US, Hong Kong and SE Asian countries.
KCC, along with its counterparts in Essex and East Sussex, is putting together a free programme of support which will launch with some online “export readiness” training activities and culminate with a series of virtual trade missions in the autumn. The aim is to connect Kent and Medway companies with distributors, buyers and useful contacts in several international markets.
Mike Whiting, KCC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “Although small businesses are still feeling the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, we believe that there are growing opportunities in overseas markets.
“Exporting will be a key way to help many Kent businesses on the road to recovery. Businesses have quickly adapted to make great use of digital technologies and the planned virtual trade missions will be an effective way of getting Kent firms in front of new international customers.”
The SEED project is part of the wider Kent International Business initiative and will make the most of Kent’s international connections. The project will provide help to up to 100 companies including around 30 from Kent.
Certain eligibility criteria apply and companies can obtain more information from www.kentinternationalbusiness.co.uk/SEED where they can download and complete an expression of interest form if they would like to get involved in the project.