£1tr export target is possible - with help from The Floow in Sheffield

Mark Robson believes the UK can hit its “daunting” £1tr-a-year export target by 2020 - thanks to Sheffield companies like The Floow.

Rear, from left: Zhuang Rongwen, vice minister of the cyberspace administration of China and digital minister, Ed Vaizey, Front: Zhang Chunhui, general manager of Carsmart and Aldo Monteforte, co-founder & director at The Floow.

The regional head of government trade body UKTI admits the huge figure is “a mountain to climb” from £600m-a-year today, but he believes the number of firms doing business overseas will rocket thanks to a change of culture at companies.

A new campaign ‘Exporting is Great’ aims to drive home the message that it is ‘not difficult, just different’ and almost any sector can make money abroad including hairdressers, lawyers, filmmakers and graphic designers

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Only this week, rising digital star, The Floow, announced it was breaking into the Chinese market with another export deal.

Mark Robson, head of UKTI, Yorkshire and Humber

It has signed a ‘letter of intent’ with CarSmart, a Chinese software company which specialises in car diagnostics and has 3.2m customers.

It comes a month after it announced a huge export deal to fits its technology into millions of Renault and Nissan cars. The Floow’s software produces data about the way cars are driven. It sells the information to insurance companies who set premiums and give discounts for safe behaviour and reduced emissions.

Mark Robson, UKTI regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This pioneering partnership with CarSmart epitomises what can be achieved by Yorkshire companies when they seize the opportunity to trade overseas.

“The Floow is an exemplar of the technological expertise and specialist talent and skills based in Yorkshire and being made available to the benefit of markets abroad.”

Other changes could boost exports, he added, including the rise of internet shopping overseas and trade agreements such as TTIP the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States.

Mr Robson said: “A lot of US companies are very worried about it, there are quite a lot of barriers to getting into the US and those will come down.

“The £1tr target is daunting, but my feeling is that we will get there if we change the culture so export is seen as normal.”

UKTI has produced a pamphlet: Five Steps To Export – Not Difficult, Just Different, email [email protected] UKTI will be holding its next Export Week from November 9-13.