Promoting inclusive growth via developing exporting

Arial shot of shipping containers on a dock


In November 2021, the Department for International Trade published the new export strategy, setting out the ‘Race to a Trillion’ ambition by the mid-2030s. Although the area covered by West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) is the largest contributor to UK GDP in the Northern Powerhouse and the largest regional economy outside London, its overall export performance is behind many UK regions. 

This project aims at co-developing an inclusive growth framework via developing exporting in order to significantly strengthen export performance and inclusive growth in the West Yorkshire region. It builds on a recent research project that was conducted for WYCA to establish the baselines and targets for West Yorkshire International Trade Strategy. Delivering the strategy, however, requires a better understanding of key factors that drive the export performance of local companies. 

The project also investigates major factors that may hinder firms in different parts of the West Yorkshire region from participating in export activities conducive to boosting economic and social development. Knowledge in these areas is needed because policymakers and companies have limited quality data on export drivers and obstacles and the differences in these across the region.

The project also provides data relevant to addressing recent challenges and opportunities for exporters arising from changing political, economic, social and technological environments that affect international trade agreements and access to foreign markets, labour market conditions and the growing application of digital technologies.

This project is funded by the 2022-23 Policy Support / Participatory Research Fund.


We will collaborate with the WYCA team, led by Amanda Potter (Trade and Investment Manager – Trade, Delivery and Business Operations, West Yorkshire Combined Authority | Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP)) and Tom Purvis (Economic Analysis Manager, West Yorkshire Combined Authority | Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP)) to conduct a survey of West Yorkshire firms.

Two of the factors that we will examine - skill levels and use of digital technologies – relate to key objectives highlighted in the Leeds City Council Areas of Research Interest Highlight Notice - Digital (Valuing Skills) and Inclusive Growth (Economic Health of the City).

We will collaborate with the WYCA to develop the research design so that the results of the research will provide data useful for developing exporting that would promote inclusive growth to help to promote the economic health of the region.

Upcoming event

Promoting Inclusive Growth via Developing Exporting
Tuesday 4 July 2023, 

Join our in-person workshop exploring key issues for export creation and promotion in West Yorkshire.

Leeds University Business School and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) will co-host the workshop with the following objectives:

  • Developing our understanding of enablers & barriers to exporting by West Yorkshire companies, especially in terms of differences in the goods and services sectors, use of digital technologies, international stance of firms, and size of firms.
  • Understanding major obstacles to promoting inclusivity in the region connected to exporting, in terms of geographical location, skills, and supporting physical and social infrastructures.
  • Exploring policy developments to help to create and sustain exporting in the region.

The workshop will also explore how export promotion can help to encourage greater participation by people in the region and discuss export policy issues.

The workshop will bring together policymakers, practitioners, academics and business people who will outline key issues for export creation and promotion.

Register for the event.