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Growing Trade and Innovation

Growing Trade and Innovation

Boosting trade by small businesses

Many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) find it hard to trade internationally because of barriers of language, culture, process and time. These businesses often lack the know-how or the resources to find a solution to these problems. For the EU to be as competitive as the USA and Japan, ways have to be found to help small businesses to trade successfully and seek out new innovations. That is what the Growing Trade and Innovation project was created to do.

Growing Trade and Innovation (GTI) belongs to the Business Growth pillar of the GROW programme, focusing on interregional trading and integration of the supply chain. With an emphasis on job and wealth creation and innovation, it works directly in support of the EU Lisbon objective to become the world’s most dynamic and competitive economy.


The project is led by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), working with nine UK partners, one from Poland and one from the Netherlands, with EUnite as observers. GTI has run three big match-making events in the regions involved, where small businesses were encouraged to speak to companies from other regions, with support from the project team in the process. In total more than 200 companies benefited from the expertise available at these events.

As a result, many companies are now leaving the comfort of their home region to trade in other parts of the EU and beyond. Some companies have already won contracts in new markets and are continuing to work on these.

Some concrete examples: A doctor from Kent (UK) is selling his innovative product to a Polish hospital in Krakow; a Dutch company signed a multi-million pound deal with a pharmaceutical company in Poland; a one-man operation from Hampshire (UK) closed a marketing deal with four Polish companies.

“We are proud of our success in persuading small businesses to travel to completely different regions and engage with like-minded businesses there with a view to cooperation and trade,” said Richard Hall of the European Information Centre (UK).

The outlook for the future impact of the project looks bright. The many partnerships forged during GTI’s lifetime are already working together on new EU projects. Many of the companies who made their first introduction at a GTI event are now working together.

“Many companies are now leaving the comfort of their home region to trade in other parts of the EU and beyond. Some have already won contracts in new markets.”


Richard Hall

UKTI Team South East, Wates House, Wallington Hill, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7BJ

Tel: +44 (0)2380 832866