The number of businesses in the North East that exported goods and/or services rose by 14% across 2014-2015, according to analysis of the latest official data from the ONS1. However, while this was the third-largest increase in terms of all UK regions, the absolute number of firms in North East that export remains low – at 4,200, the smallest of any UK region.
To help increase the number of firms that export, foster stronger exports from the region and drive growth, Santander UK hosted a roundtable event with Helen Goodman MP last Friday in Bishop Auckland to discuss and explore growth and international expansion opportunities.
Local businesses attended the discussion, which is part of a series of events that Santander is holding throughout 2017 in partnership with the British Chambers of Commerce – in this case, with the North East England Chamber of Commerce. Andrew Street, CEO of Liberty Drums, a local business which is this year celebrating its 10th anniversary and is exporting to the US, France, Denmark, Germany and other countries, shared with attendees some anecdotes about his business’ journey and how he turned his passion for drums into a full-time job; and reiterated the importance of having the right support in order to expand overseas.
Andrew Street said: “Thanks to the help from the Department for International Trade (former UKTI) and Business Durham, the journey for Liberty Drums has been globally successful. Liberty Drums is now a global leader in percussion drum manufacture and design with growing export links at global level. Discussions like this one hosted by Santander UK are very valuable to raise awareness of the support available for SMEs looking to grow internationally”.
Helen Goodman, MP for Bishop Auckland, agreed on the importance of contributing to the wider UK export agenda and said: “Exporting remains a major focus for UK plc and the range and depth of support available to businesses in the North East is huge. This event has highlighted this support and showcased how exporting can significantly drive growth and bring new opportunities. It is really important that local businesses feel confident and optimistic about the global trade opportunities open to them; indeed, that have never been closer.”
Jonathan Thompson, Divisional Managing Director for the North, Santander, said: “Santander is delighted to have organised this important discussion at a critical time for the North East and wider UK economy. We know that many North East firms want to export and hope this event will help them realise these ambitions. Exporting is fundamental to the success of the UK and Santander’s international trade proposition is focused on helping businesses recognise and take the opportunities open to them.”
In September 2016, Ana Botín, Santander Group’s Executive Chairman, signed a gift agreement to donate £600,000 over a three year period to Durham University to help fund the Zurbarán Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art in Bishop Auckland, County Durham - the largest single donation made by Santander to a UK university.
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Notes to Editors
1 Analysis of ONS Annual Business Survey – Importers and Exporters in Great Britain 2011-2015. Regional figures may not sum to total GB figure, due to ONS methodology.
Santander UK is a financial services provider in the UK that offers a wide range of personal and commercial financial products and services. It has brought real competition to the UK, through its innovative products for retail customers and relationship banking model for UK SMEs. At 31 December 2016, the bank serves around 14 million active customers with c20,000 employees and operates through 841 branches (which includes 60 university branches) and 67 regional Corporate Business Centres. Santander UK is subject to the full supervision of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) in the UK. Santander UK plc customers are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in the UK.
Banco Santander (SAN SM, STD US, BNC LN) is a leading retail and commercial bank, headquartered in Spain, with a meaningful market share in 10 core countries in Europe and the Americas. It is among the world’s top banks by market capitalization. The bank’s purpose is to help people and businesses prosper, in a way that is simple, personal and fair. Founded in 1857, Santander had EUR 1.52 trillion in managed funds, 125 million customers, 12,200 branches and 188,000 employees at the close of 2016. Santander made attributable profit of EUR 6,204 million in 2016, an increase of 4% compared to the previous year.
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