Why the Brexit delay is an opportunity for exporters


The news that the EU has delayed the UK’s planned departure date until October 31st has come as a relief to many businesses.

Our Brexit-readiness survey, which remains open, shows that many Cumbrian businesses were ill-prepared for a no-deal departure. We hope the politicians use the extra time wisely to find a solution to the impasse.

But the delay to Brexit has created a real opportunity for exporters.

Our survey reveals that Brexit has been an impetus for some businesses to explore new markets.

We’re keen to see more businesses do that. Exporting can be transformational. It widens your customer base and makes your business more resilient and less vulnerable to a downturn in the UK economy.

Cumbria has some great exporting success stories.

Here are two I’d like to share with you.

This week we recorded a podcast with Jayne Moorby of Oxley Developments in Ulverston. Oxley began exporting in the 1970s. Exports now account for 75% of turnover and it sells its LED lighting and high-spec components in 34 countries.

Here’s another podcast with Barry Leahey of Playdale Playgrounds in Haverthwaite, a company that only began exporting in 2009 and now sells to 49 countries.

Barry was kind enough to speak at the Chamber/South Lakeland Council partners’ dinner in March when he revealed that exports saved Playdale when austerity cuts severely impacted its UK market after the financial crisis.

It’s a salutary lesson.

In the last five years, the Chamber’s Cumbria Business Growth Hub has helped 550 Cumbrian exporters including 200 businesses that hadn’t exported before.

The Growth Hub website  is a great place to start.

There is information on workshops, trade missions and grants, a video guide to exporting and details of specific initiatives from trade finance and insurance to overseas market introductions and an export communication review.

For a flavour of the support available from the Department for International Trade, through the Growth Hub, listen to this podcast with the Cumbria-based export adviser Tiffany Solender.

The Chamber’s Export Documentation Service simplifies and streamlines the export process by ensuring that paperwork is completed correctly first time so avoiding delays and saving you money.

Last year we helped Cumbrian businesses to export £57m worth of goods all across the globe including to Turkey, Russia, China and South America.

And we can help Cumbrian businesses make contact with businesses in their target markets through the international Chamber of Commerce network.

I’d urge any potential exporter to get in touch and we will talk through the support available. Call us on 0844 257 84 50. We’d love to hear from you.

Kind regards


Chief Executive, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce

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