Huddle: SMES Urged to Trade Abroad to Boost UK EconomyMarch 06, 2012
London Loves Business
The government has urged SMEs to take advantage of opportunities to trade abroad to boost the UK’s economy, with some London firms already proving there are serious openings for growth.
Business and enterprise minister Mark Prisk told business leaders in Cambridge that SMEs would be offered the financial support they need to expand into new markets.
Prisk said: “Giving businesses the confidence to trade abroad is vital to help boost growth in the economy. UK Export Finance is supporting SMEs by introducing a range of financial support for businesses that want to export but can’t obtain the finance they need through the normal commercial routes.
“We are also helping businesses to protect their intellectual property abroad by introducing an online register of advisers as well as placing our first international attaché in China to help UK businesses with enforcement issues. With support from UKTI we will give entrepreneurs the confidence to explore new markets and grow their business.”
One businesses based in London that has succeeded in expanding into new markets with the help of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is Huddle, which provides cloud collaboration and content management for enterprise.
Since its launch in 2006, Huddle has gone on to establish offices in London’s Tech City and San Francisco, while it also hopes to open an office in Boston. Huddle is used by more than 100,000 organisations, including Disney, HTC and Kia Motors.
Huddle CEO Alastair Mitchell, who co-founded the company with Andy McLoughlin, said: “Huddle is an online business, it’s a collaboration business that helps businesses to share documents and work together online. The biggest market for that is actually in the US and increasingly in the Far East, in China and Japan.”
Mitchell said it soon became apparent Huddle would be doing a lot of its business abroad.
“We started it in the UK but very quickly realised a lot of our customers - 30 to 40 per cent of them - were coming from the US. That’s where the big investors are, that’s where a lot of the big companies we want to work with are also based, in Silicon Valley and Boston, and so on,” said Mitchell.
“We have since got US investors who put in a lot of money into Huddle to grow in that market and will probably be raising more money again this year to grow even faster in the US.”