Thousands of jobs could be created in Sheffield and £80million pumped into the city under ambitious plans to boost exports.
The National Export Challenge, launched in 2012, aims to grow exporting businesses in the UK by 100,000 by the year 2020 – and Sheffield Council says the city has a ‘lead role’ in helping to meet that target.
The authority wants to boost the number of small and medium enterprises exporting from Sheffield by 860 by the year 2020.
It is also delivering an Export Development Programme, supporting 60 businesses over the next year to start exporting or grow their exporting offer.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: “It’s absolutely vital we grow exports, not just in Sheffield, but across the UK, in order to reverse our trade deficit and grow the economy.
“It’s completely the right thing for the council to try to achieve, so God bless the council for saying that.
“I encourage any SMEs who want to start exporting to come to the Chamber.
“We have grown exports by our members by 77 per cent year on year.”
Mr Wright said he wanted Sheffield to grow its exports by focusing more on making money from ideas and research, an area he says the city has been sorely lacking in.
Mr Wright said: “That’s where things like the Advanced Manufacturing Research Park come in.
“As a city we have been great at creating knowledge, such as in our universities.
“We have been God-damn awful at commercialising it.”
Coun Leigh Bramall, the council deputy leader and cabinet member for business, said: “Increasing the number of Sheffield businesses that export is essential to our economic growth. Rather than money moving between businesses within the city, exporting allows firms to bring in a new stream of money, meaning the economic growth is far bigger for Sheffield.
“Exporting also creates jobs, attracts talent and showcases our offering in overseas markets; all of which feed into our city’s vibrancy.
“As a city we have an ambitious target, but one our strategy sets out to deliver. As well as supporting 860 businesses to export for the first time, we will be helping 360 established exporters to grow their offering into new overseas markets.
“This combined effort will lead to 1,300 jobs created and an economic impact to the city of £80 million.”