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South West tech firms offered free support to scale overseas

The programme, delivered by trade body Tech South West alongside global finance firm RSM and Department for International Trade will offer insight to on how to break into the US market.

A new business support programme has launched to support South West tech companies to scale overseas.

The free GO Global programme is being delivered by Exeter-based trade body Tech South West, in partnership with global financial consultancy firm RSM, with support from the Department for International Trade.

The scheme will focus on helping firms looking to expand their operations abroad, with a particular focus on the US.

RSM and tech firms who have already successfully entered the American market will share insights with participating businesses and entrepreneurs, with other international markets set to be covered in future versions of the programme.

The sessions will help tech firms to develop essential “building blocks” of an overseas strategy. Talks will cover how to set up wholly owned subsidiaries abroad, tax obligations and compliance, exporting goods and services, licensing and franchising, forming strategic partnerships and overseas talent acquisition.

Dan Pritchard, co-founder of Tech South West, said: “The South West has incredible companies delivering in specialisms ranging from marinetech and agritech to createch and fintech.

“Many already operate overseas, but many more do not. Learning from experts and hearing from tech companies already building traction in the US will be key components of the programme, as we support more tech firms to develop their overseas strategy.”

An introductory session for interested companies will form part of Tech South West’s online Growth Summit on Thursday July 14.

Ben Bilsland, partner and media and technology senior analyst at RSM, said: “The Technology industry is a cornerstone of the work delivered from RSM and we are working on a daily basis with businesses in the South West to achieve their global growth plans.

“As headline partner we have a goal to share our knowledge, insight and understanding with the broader ecosystem and turbocharge the growth of global tech in the region.”

Tech South West will also work with RSM and other partners to carry out a regional survey to understand the priorities, challenges and support needs for tech firms looking to scale overseas, the findings of which will be published in a report later this year.

Ben Cooper, business support lead at Tech South West, added: “The pandemic broke down many geographical and digital barriers so now is the time to support the companies who are operating overseas or looking to do so, and need robust guidance and support through Tech South West team of expert partners.”

Research previously commissioned by Tech South West estimated the region’s burgeoning sector could be worth almost £20bn by 2026 and create more than 125,000 new jobs.

The analysis estimated that nearly 170,000 people currently work within South West tech, with GVA per capita of £1,943 – the second highest in the UK when compared to all other regions outside London and the South East.

The report, published in March, also addressed challenges the sector faced, particularly around talent. Despite the proportion of tech and engineering students across South West universities (11%) being above the UK average (7%), recruitment difficulties and salary inflation were contributing to high vacancy rates.

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