Leicestershire firms urged to make £99 trade visits to European cities
Leicestershire firms looking to shine overseas are being urged to get on board a £99 visit to some of Europe's major centres of industry.
Government export body UK Trade and Investment is hosting a series of low cost trips to introduce companies to potential new markets.
Destinations for the £99 Export Insight visits include Warsaw, Prague, Copenhagen, Dublin, Madrid, Barcelona, and Karlsruhe in Germany.
A trip to the Benelux countries was due to return today.
A number of local businesses have already signed up, including representatives of Oadby-based children's-wall sticker company Fun2See who are going to Warsaw, and staff at Smartfield Accountants, in Leicester, and MIRA, near Hinckley, who are heading to Germany.
UKTI wants more Leicestershire firms to sign up.
Carly Walker is international sales manager at Fun2See, which recently came under new ownership.
The company employs 30 staff and already sells stickers under licence from companies such as Fisher Price, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Tatty Teddy.
She hopes that travelling to Poland will open up new opportunities to export.
She said: "For us this is a cost-effective, introductory way to visit a potential market. It's also a chance to network with other businesses on the trip.
"We want to see our international sales grow and are trying to revamp the business following the takeover.
"Poland is our first trip like this and we've already found UKTI very positive."
The Poland trip takes place from March 12-14.
The former Eastern bloc country now boasts a high-income economy, the sixth largest in the EU. Poland's trade is dominated by Europe – around 60 per cent of its imports and 80 per cent of exports come from or go to member states.
During the visit, companies will get the chance to attend meetings and training at the British Embassy.
Peter Hogarth, regional trade director for UK Trade & Investment East Midlands, said: "Poland has great potential for both trade and outward investment and is an excellent location at the centre of Europe. I know from my own business experience that those first stages of exporting can seem a step into the unknown.
"Different language, culture and business practices can make overseas trade a daunting prospect, which is why nothing beats going out there and meeting people face-to-face.
"These visits are great value – for less than a hundred pounds we will introduce you to a new market. We will pay for group flights, accommodation, group transport and activities once out in Warsaw.
"I've always said if you can sell in the UK you can sell anywhere. Companies that export grow faster and survive longer than those that don't.
"And we've known for a long time that the only way to grow the UK economy is to export."
Companies need to have been trading for 12 months, with low existing exports, and places are on a first come, first served basis.
For further information, ring Astrid Brewster on 01332 826418 or visit: