University of Leicester helps Leicester businesses go forth and export

Posted by er134 at Jan 30, 2014 09:35 AM |
Experts from the University of Leicester are helping 16 Leicester businesses to expand their international business potential through the SME Support to Growth project

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 30 January 2013

The University of Leicester is helping Leicester businesses to find their feet on the international stage - by developing their exporting potential.

A group of 16 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in Leicester city are benefiting from the expertise of experts at the University of Leicester through its SME Support to Growth project.

In particular, it is offering academic consultancy, short business projects conducted by students as part of their degree, up to £2,000 towards the cost of employing a recent graduate on a minimum three-month internship and tailored support to the unique requirements of each business.

Among the recent and current projects the University academics have been involved with are:

  • Completing an economic profile for Practical Green Energy, a local firm considering investing in the introduction of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) in India
  • Arranging for a student to take an internship with Anicca Digital Solutions. The intern supported the development of three large international accounts
  • Academic consultancy for East Midlands firms Action Deafness Limited and Questmark

The Project Directors are Professor Kirsten Malmkjaer, of the University’s School of Modern Languages, and Dr Stephan Reiff-Marganiec, of the University’s Department of Computer Science.

The project is funded by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Lee Sanderson-Mann, business manager of the project, said: “We are encouraging local SME’s to consider growing their business through exporting, enabling them to do so by providing the resources and expertise in which to optimise the opportunities and benefits of exporting.

“We are helping businesses to plan, research, analyse and gain insight into exporting, to understand International business protocols and compliance issues, opening up new markets, and optimise export opportunities.

“We hope to see supported businesses improve their productivity, financial performance, innovation and resilience through exporting, demonstrating the value of working with their local University.

The benefits for SMEs of thinking about exporting were also emphasised at a recent workshop in Leicester hosted by the University of Leicester in partnership with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). The event was aimed at SMEs seeking to grow their business overseas.

The British Government is committed to doubling exports by 2020, and in his Autumn Statement in 2012 the Chancellor announced additional funding for UKTI to allow it to increase its support to SME exporters.

At the event, companies were told they can reap significant benefits from expanding overseas – spreading risk, benefiting from growth markets, gaining prestige and attracting and retaining high-quality staff, for example.

But SMEs were also told that those who approach exporting strategically are usually far more successful than those that do it ‘reactively’ – it is better to plan your export than simply wait and respond to unsolicited enquiries.

Kerry Bailey, Partnership Development Manager for UKTI East Midlands, said of the event: “Teaming up with the University of Leicester to promote the benefits of exporting has been a great experience.

“Reaching as wide an audience as possible is a key objective for UKTI and working in partnership with other influential organisations in the region and beyond helps us to do this.”

The University of Leicester plans a series of exporting-related events in 2014, in conjunction with UKTI and major international exporters.


Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact Lee Sanderson-Mann, business manager of the project, at or 0116 252 2593

More information about SME Support to Growth can be found at:

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