Improving Export Promotion and Support for Businesses in West Yorkshire

Join this in-person workshop, exploring how to increase the effectiveness of export support and promotion services in the region.

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West Yorkshire has a low proportion of exports compared to some other UK regions. Our research has highlighted the complexity and lack of understanding of the role of organisations involved in providing export promotion and support services to companies in the region. This situation hampers the effectiveness of providing services to help companies to begin to export or to further develop their existing export markets. 

Through this event, we aim to catalyse a collective effort towards rectifying and improving this situation, fostering a collaborative environment where stakeholders can strategise and implement measures together to enhance the effectiveness of export support services.

Workshop objectives: 

  • Get a real grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of West Yorkshire’s network of export support.
  • Collaborate on creating a plan to enhance regional export services that will encourage companies to start or to develop exporting. Considerations to take into account include:
    o sectors or industries,
    o different experiences of exporting,
    o geographical locations within the region,
    o types of companies (services/manufacturing; size, etc.).
  • Discuss how the research results might influence the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s (WYCA’s) work to help compaies access appropriate organisations to obtain the information and support relevant to their needs:

We aim to welcome attendees from export-related organisations, government agencies, policymaking and export-promoting positions, and academia. 

The programme centralises around the research team’s interviews and survey findings, with presentations from Leeds University Business School and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, and contributions to the roundtable discussions are actively encouraged in order for strategic steps forward to be made in improving exporting and support for businesses in the region.

Workshop Programme:

12:00 Arrival and networking lunch

Welcome and outline of the aims of the workshop

Frank McDonald, Professor of International Business at Leeds University Business School


Presentation of interview findings

Giles Blackburn, Visiting Scholar of International Business at Leeds University Business School – 

Key challenges and opportunities in enhancing the effectiveness of the network of organisations involved in export promotion and support services


Roundtable discussions
Led by Annie Wei, Professor of International Business at Leeds University Business School

•    How might we enhance the effectiveness of the network of agencies that provide export promotion services?
•    What developments of policy might help to better address the diversity of help and support needed by companies looking to begin or to develop exporting?

14:45 Refreshment break

Emma Liu, Lecturer of International Business at Leeds University Business School - 
Possible ways to improve ease of access by companies to appropriate organisations to obtain information and support, and to enable export promotion organisations to effectively communicate with exporters  


Roundtable discussions 
by Frank McDonald, Professor of International Business, Leeds University Business School

•    Can we improve access for companies by developing online gateways that provide quick and easy contact to appropriate organisations in the network of export promotion providers?
•    Can we develop the network of organisations to more easily and at low cost effectively communicate with companies in diverse industries to foster starting or expanding exporting? For example, taking into account geographical locations, levels of export experience, size etc. 

16:30 Workshop close


If you have any questions about this event, please contact Grace Carter at Leeds University Business School.