In recent weeks, the Government has launched GREAT.gov.uk - a new digital service available for businesses that makes it quicker, more cost effective and easier for UK business to export and find investors.
As we face Brexit, finding new export markets is more important than ever. This has been highlighted by a recent report by the Centre for Cities which showed 68% of exports from Plymouth currently head to the EU.
The GREAT.co.uk website acts as a single digital destination for Trade and Investment, bringing together UK businesses, international buyers, international investors and online marketplaces. It will give access to millions of pounds' worth of potential overseas business, as well as signpost to first class information, preferential deals with e-commerce sites and great support services to help them win lucrative contracts.
As your MP, I want local businesses to get exporting. I'm passionate about helping small and medium sized businesses grow because it benefits our community, bringing jobs and prosperity to us all.
Research has shown again and again that exporters are more productive, adaptable and resilient. Exporters achieve a stronger bottom line and are more likely to stay in business. However - while there are over 2.5 million registered UK businesses - only 11% of them export.
This is a real shame, because the fact is the world wants what we in the South West are selling. Across the world our unique British brand is regarded as a mark of quality, innovative and excellence.
I am encouraging local businesses to be at the forefront of the drive to get the UK as a whole exporting. In our region we are already leaders in some of the world's fastest-growing and innovative sectors –creative industries, energy, marine, life sciences and technology to name just a few.
It goes without saying that making the move into any new market – especially when you're dealing with a different language, culture or regulations – can feel like a leap into the unknown. But you don't need to be an old hand at exporting to have an impact globally. Two in five of the UK's smallest exporters – that's companies with fewer than 10 employees – are already doing business in at least one high-growth market.
The new services available at www.GREAT.gov.uk will make it even easier to get started or to expand into new markets. Once registered, local companies can promote their goods and services to international buyers, search hundreds of export opportunities and access preferential deals with online marketplace that have been negotiated on behalf of UK business.
So I ask local businesses to get out there, make the most of the new digital services available to help you export and let me know how you get on.
The opportunity is out there and we should be too.