A Tees Valley training firm is preparing businesses for taking advantage of lucrative US trade routes, with a little help from regional export experts.
Middlesbrough-based Enterprise Made Simple has established links on both sides of the Atlantic to create “Inspiration USA”, a training course providing insight and mentorship to companies and individuals trying to break into US markets.
The idea for the programme struck Chief Executive, Phil Teasdale, when he attended a trade mission to Boston organised by the Department for International Trade North East.
He said: “Not only is there a real desire from businesses in the UK to open up productive trade links in the US, there is a similar appetite on the other side of the Atlantic.
“We developed a training programme providing access to American businesses, insight into US business practices, practical training on how to operate and a visit to Boston to meet with and hear from sectoral leaders about what firms are looking for and how they work.”
Phil developed “Inspiration USA” after taking advantage of the ERDF-funded “Expanding Tees Valley presence in international markets” programme, created by the DIT specifically to help Teesside firms break into overseas markets.
A free service, it provides SMEs with practical and financial support, offering a launchpad for companies new to exporting and hands-on help to those already selling overseas.
Phil added: “DIT support has been fantastic. Our International Trade Advisor, Stephen Muir, helped us onto the trade mission, supported our bid for funding for an exploratory trip to the US and also made vital introductions to the Boston Chamber of Commerce and the US Consulate, which have proved invaluable.
“My advice for any business looking to take that next step and start operating in overseas markets, to speak to the DIT and find out how the team can help.”
With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Inspiration USA arrives at the perfect time, as firms look to take advantage of the UK’s “special arrangement” with the USA.
Creating a Transatlantic training programme is a far cry from Enterprise Made Simple’s birth 11 years ago. Phil started the company with former colleagues after being made redundant.
“Three of us got together and knew we had the bones of a good business,” said Phil. “We have grown the business from a single office in Middlesbrough to now having bases in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar, Sunderland, York and London.
“In 2018, we trained over 3,500 people, from all sectors. We work with universities, business owners and offer training to help firms scale up and reach their potential.
“Inspiration USA is the next stage in our evolution. We already have over 130 businesses registered in Boston to take part, and there are still spaces available for UK firms.”
The first Inspiration USA began in January with a series of “Inspiration Week” training courses at Gisborough Hall, near Middlesbrough. Business leaders were equipped with the skills and knowledge to operate in the USA in, later this month they will visit Boston to link up with US contacts and then in March the US firms will visit the UK.
Director of International Trade, Julie Underwood, said: “Enterprise Made Simple provides a service that complements our own and we are delighted to have played a small part in the creation a training programme helping businesses explore export markets.
“Phil and the team have an incredible track record for delivering quality training courses. Inspiration USA will add another string to the company’s already impressive bow.”