How to access business opportunities overseas

  • 29 Jan 2018

Small businesses who export are more innovative, productive, profitable and resilient, using the skills gained from competing internationally to improve their performance at home.

According to the National Survey of Registered Businesses’ Exporting Behaviours, Attitudes and Needs, 69% of all businesses agree that exporting would give their business the opportunity for higher or faster growth. 


Small firms make a serious contribution to the UK economy. Those that export are more likely to grow, innovate and contribute towards the UK’s productivity and position as a global trading power. Whatever your business size, there are opportunities overseas. And while you might feel that there are barriers to grabbing those opportunities, the Department for International Trade has a platform that was launched in November 2016 that has already helped many businesses start their export journey. is designed and developed to help UK businesses grow and secure their place on the global stage.

The platform also includes an overseas-facing site, designed to raise awareness amongst overseas investors of investment opportunities in the UK.

In its first year has received around 2.7 million visits. For many, a visit to the platform is the start of their export journey.

Content on the platform is designed to inform and support businesses, from ‘how to get ready to sell overseas’ and ‘shipping and logistics’ to ‘raising finance for export’ and ‘reaching customers online.’


Visitors start their journey through via the Export Readiness tool. Based on a series of light-touch questions and through information from the Companies House Search feature, businesses will be triaged and classified into one of three groups: New to Exporting, Occasional Exporters or Regular Exporters.

Companies will then be directed to content and services tailored to their needs depending on their situation, sector and experience. Businesses will also be presented with the largest markets for their sectors.

A suite of tools is available to get you export-ready or able to connect with overseas buyers.

The tools include:

Export Opportunities - a tool that presents businesses in the UK with unique business opportunities gathered by our network of in-post Embassy and High-Commission trade experts, as well as overseas partner stakeholders.


Companies that register can receive tailored emails with details of new business opportunities that are relevant to them. They can also keep track of opportunities they have responded to and how they are progressing.

Trade Profile - a tool that brings together UK suppliers with prospective overseas buyers.

Companies that have registered on our ‘Trade Profile’ tool create a profile through which they can showcase their company’s products or services giving overseas buyers insight into their background and offerings.


Selling Online Overseas - a tool developed to help small and medium sized UK businesses establish themselves on online marketplaces. Online marketplaces reach 2 billion consumers online around the world. They enable UK businesses to position their products and services in marketplaces that are designed to meet the needs of the on-demand economy. The Department for International Trade has negotiated preferential rates exclusively for UK businesses with many of the world's leading online marketplaces, including Amazon India, Alibaba and Rakuten.

The Department for International Trade set out to design and deliver a series of digital tools to support small and medium sized businesses and we encourage UK businesses to use them to find opportunities overseas. Many have started their journey, will you?

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