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Overview

The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) provides tailored support packages for companies who are:

  • first time exporters (FTEs)

  • small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

  • medium-sized businesses (MSBs)

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about/about-our
-services
for further information.

In addition, the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium can assist as the premier professional forum for British expats and UK-related business in Belgium, by organising regular high-level events and networking opportunities, facilitating business development by providing targeted exposure for their members' goods and services, and providing news and information relevant to the UK-Belgium business community, serving as a conduit for member-to-member communication.

See: http://britishchamber.be/ for further information.

The following details are a selection of support services available for you:

 

Support from the Department for International Trade (DIT)

Business opportunities

UK companies are set to benefit from a unique new five-year programme presenting real-time export opportunities that you can apply for online. This is part of the drive to significantly increase the number of UK companies exporting.

‘Exporting is GREAT’ is part of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign, and presents live export opportunities to UK businesses across a range of media outlets and digital channels. Hundreds of these export opportunities, with a potential total value of more than £300 million, are hosted on: https://www.export.great.gov.uk/.

‘Exporting is GREAT’ provides business advice and expertise to support you at every step on your exporting journey, from initial interest to selling in-market and using the latest technology to connect these businesses with live export opportunities.

Events and missions

Taking part in overseas exhibitions is an effective way for you to test markets, attract customers, appoint agents or distributors and make sales. DIT's Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant support for eligible SMEs to attend trade shows overseas.

Participation is usually as part of a group, a great advantage for inexperienced businesses, and is usually led by one of DIT's Accredited Trade Associations (ATOs). ATOs work with DIT to raise the profile of UK groups and sectors at key exhibitions. 

The DIT calendar of events has some 400 core events and missions, and 1,000 opportunities across the TAP ‘Trade Access Programme’ and the English national regions.

DIT Events Portal

The DIT Events Portal provides a single calendar view of all DIT events and missions, and has been developed to provide companies with more detailed information on each event in order to help them decide on the most appropriate event to attend. The calendar can be filtered and searched by sector and/or market.

There are also detailed events websites which include more information about the event and also allow users to register for an event.

The DIT Events Portal is your central hub for business and networking opportunities. Search for future events and missions, register online and network with fellow delegates. See: https://www.events.trade.gov.uk/.

DIT webinars

The DIT Webinar Service runs hundreds of free hour-long internet events covering topics, sectors and countries around the world, helping you shape your export plan.

These events allow you to interact with the experts in specific sectors and countries and allow you to ask questions to enhance your knowledge

To see upcoming DIT webinars, please visit: http://www.events.trade.gov.uk/ and search for webinars.

 

Other DIT services

DIT assists new and experienced exporters with information, help and advice on entering overseas markets such as Belgium. These services include:

  • an Export Health Check to assess your company’s readiness for exporting and help develop a plan of action

  • training in the requirements for trading overseas

  • access to an experienced local international trade adviser

  • help to grow your business through online exports

  • specialist help with tackling cultural issues when communicating with Belgian customers and partners

  • advice on how to go about market research and the possibility of a grant towards approved market-research projects

  • ongoing support to help you continue to develop overseas trade, and look at dealing with more-sophisticated activities or markets

  • information, contacts, advice, mentoring and support from DIT staff in the UK and their network of staff in Belgium

  • support to participate in trade fairs in Belgium

  • opportunities to participate in sector-based trade missions and seminars

  • access to major buyers, local government and supply chains in Belgium

  • advice on forming international joint ventures and partnerships

  • exploratory visits to Belgium

  • alerts to the latest and best business opportunities

To find out more about commissioning any of these services, contact a DIT export adviser at: https://www.contactus.trade.gov.uk/enquiry/topic for a free consultation, or see further details at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-international-trade/about/about-our-services.

 

DIT E-Exporting Programme

DIT’s E-Exporting Programme aims to help UK companies get their brands to millions of global consumers and grow their business through online exports. DIT’s E-Exporting Programme helps UK companies who are:

  • new to selling online

  • already selling online, but need help with specific issues

  • experienced in online sales, but are looking to sell on multiple platforms globally

The programme enables you to:

  • arrange a free meeting through your local DIT office to get expert international trade advice and support, and access to DIT’s global network of contacts. See: https://www.contactus.trade.gov.uk/office-finder

  • meet a digital trade adviser (where relevant), to help you develop and implement an international online strategy

  • set up on e-marketplaces quickly and also identify new e-marketplaces around the world

  • access better-than-commercial rates to list on some e-marketplaces, including lower commission fees and ‘try for free’ periods. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting#preferentialrates

  • access the ‘E-Expertise Bank’, a community of over 175 B2B/B2C service providers offering free advice. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/e-exporting#eexpertise

  • join DIT’s mailing list for opportunities to hear from industry experts, network with like-minded individuals and find out about e-commerce trends

In-market support

If you already export, and have decided Belgium is part of your business strategy, you are advised to contact the DIT team in Brussels prior to your visit to discuss your objectives and what help you may need at: DITBelgium@mobile.trade.gov.uk (see the ‘Resources’ section at the end of this guide). They can provide a range of Belgian-specific services for you, including the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers, establishing interest from such contacts, and arranging in-market appointments for you. In addition, they can also organise events for you to meet contacts in Belgium, or to promote your company and your products/services.

[Source – DIT/gov.uk]

 

Support from the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium

The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium works closely with a number of partners to maximise the reach and effectiveness of their trade and investment activities. These include partners in Belgium and the UK, and government and non-governmental bodies.

Each partner has a different area of expertise – some focus on supporting companies entering the Belgian market for the first time, others work with Belgian companies looking to invest in the UK. They also work with national business organisations in Belgium and other international Chambers of Commerce.

Together they are able to fully support companies in Belgium – whether from the UK, Belgium, or any other country.

The British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium offers one hour of free advice from any or all of their accredited service providers. Any company in Belgium, or thinking of doing business in Belgium, can access this service. They also understand that there are many steps to establish or improve a business and that this can take a number of years, which is why there is no limit to when you can use their services. They can provide advice on the best way to structure a company in Belgium, and months later provide advice on the best marketing strategy in Belgium too.

Advice is available in the following areas:

  • office set-up (legal, accountancy, VAT, registration etc.)

  • financial, legal and tax advice

  • office space and virtual offices

  • marketing and promotional services

  • sales support (strategy, trade fairs, distributors etc.)

  • human resources (recruitment, payroll, social security etc.)

  • living in Belgium (relocation, accommodation, health insurance etc.)

  • logistics

  • grants and subsidies

  • training and development

All accredited service providers work in English, but most can also offer advice in French and Flemish as well. 

For more information on how the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium can help you, or on becoming a member, contact them at: http://britishchamber.be/.

[Source – British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium]

 

Support from the Institute of Export & International Trade

Raising the profile of international trade qualifications and experienced members is only part of how IOE&IT membership is essential for any individual or business involved with global trade.

Importantly, the IOE&IT also offer access to a unique range of benefits and services specific to international trade: 

  • Help with any export issues you come across. Our team of experts can help with questions on documentation, export controls, the UK Bribery Act, customs & VAT procedures, regulatory and compliance issues, insurance issues, payment terms, transport and logistics. Members get free access to our experts via a Technical Helpline. See: https://www.export.org.uk/page/Export_Helpline.

  • A voice for your ideas and concerns. We represent your point of view and feed back to government, HMRC and other influencing bodies on issues that impact you, plus participate in Institute responses to central government with regard to proposed legislative changes.

  • A complete range of international trade qualifications – for those that have no experience, up to those who wish to qualify themselves to take a business degree. The Institute's qualifications are widely recognised as providing both employers and employees with the necessary international business practice linked to satisfying career planning and development. See: https://www.export.org.uk/page/qualifications.

  • A range of short courses giving you the skills and expertise you need to gain a competitive advantage in the challenging and complex world of export, import and international trade. See: https://www.export.org.uk/page/TrainingCourses.

  • An extensive events programme to help you share information and connect at every level in the international trade community, whether it is sector-specific or regional. See: https://www.export.org.uk/events/event_list.asp.

  • Inclusion in surveys to research the attitudes and changes to world trade.

For more information on how the IOE&IT can help you, or on becoming a member, contact the IOE&IT at: https://www.export.org.uk/page/about.

[Source – Institute of Export & International Trade]


Open to Export

Open to Export is the IOE&IT’s free, online advice service for UK companies looking to grow internationally. It offers free information and support on anything to do with exporting and hosts online discussions via its forum, webinars and social media, where businesses can ask any export question, and learn from each other. Open to Export can be accessed at: http://opentoexport.com/.

For more information on how the IOE&IT can help you, or on becoming a member, contact the IOE&IT at: https://www.export.org.uk/page/about.

[Source – Institute of Export & International Trade]


 

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