Support for Preston businesses looking to trade outside the UK

28 May 2024

If you’ve been considering trading outside of the UK but don’t know where to start, then training and support via UK Shared Prosperity Funding, delivered by North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, could help you get started.

Preston and the surrounding area are home to some major manufacturers already involved in international trade, but it also contains a strong manufacturing small and medium sized enterprise (SME) base who may need a helping hand on how to get started and what needs to be considered.

As a region we have historically punched below our weight when it comes to our levels of exports. Add to that the fact that UK businesses who export tend to grow more than those who don’t – and foreign companies who locate here are typically more productive, more innovative, and pay higher wages – then there are definite benefits for the local economy in several areas.

Businesses in Preston are home to an abundance of talent within both large and small companies, supplemented by an innovative and collaborative environment. The aim is to help businesses grow and expand in international trade, where the funding can help with advice, support and training.

Councillor Valerie Wise, Cabinet member for Community Wealth Building at Preston City Council, said:

“There are many successful companies in the city that have products with export potential but who may not have considered it. If a product is a success in the UK, the next obvious step is to identify if it would sell well in overseas markets.

“The award to the Council of UK Shared Prosperity Funding is being used in a number of areas – in this case to provide advice, support and training for those businesses who want to begin trading internationally or helping those who already export to Ireland or Europe to venture farther afield.”

Paul Walters, Head of International Trade at North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, added:

“The allocation of UKSPF from Preston City Council to this project has already helped some of our current members enormously and now we want to speak to any business owner in Preston who is interested in growth in this area. The funding enables us to provide that support and training – at no cost to the business – in an area that can be difficult to navigate. And the business doesn’t have to be a member of the Chamber.

“By assisting companies, we can introduce them to potential markets and guide them in their journey through training and consultancy to improve and upskill their staff. Feedback on the training so far has been very positive.

“The flexibility of the funding means that we can tailor the support to each company’s particular needs. Some businesses have used the training courses to upskill key members of staff, while others have seen a greater benefit from the consultancy and advice on offer.”


  • Preston City Council actively applies and prioritises the principles of Community Wealth Building wherever applicable and appropriate. Community Wealth Building is an approach which aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.
  • NWLCC is looking at existing regional sector strengths – such as aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and energy – and also exploring new technology-based subsectors which may offer additional opportunities for international trade. A food and drink export proposition, mixed with agricultural expertise, could also be utilised to support more global export activity.
  • To apply for international trade support from the UKSPF, your business’s sole or main place of business must be an address within the city of Preston.
  • Your business does not need to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce to benefit from this funding.
  • Contact [email protected] to arrange an initial discussion.
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