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Small businesses to get export support

A new service designed to help small and medium sized businesses to export to high growth markets in South East Asia has launched.

The Headstart initiative is a partnership between UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the UK-ASEAN Business Council (UKABC) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.

The service offers access to local business networks, introductions to already established UK companies, temporary office space with the local BCC and ongoing access to BCC staff.

Headstart will begin as a six month pilot, and will be available to companies with a maximum of 250 staff and maximum annual turnover of up to £25 million. There is a nominal fee typically ranging from between £220 and £500 for up to a year of support.

Commenting on the initiative, Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: "Many more British companies could be exporting, but we know that striking out into new and unfamiliar markets can sometimes look daunting. Headstart will help small and medium sized companies seize the many opportunities in fast growing economies of South East Asia by connecting them with local support quickly.

"We want to see another 100,000 businesses exporting by 2020 and helping more small firms to do so is vital to securing a return to long-term sustainable growth."

The service comes after the Government's 'Plan for growth', published at Budget 2011 committed to encouraging investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy.