BUSINESSES in Cambridgeshire are set to take advantage of the plummeting value of Sterling, which is making exports increasingly competitive in spite of a contracting global market. The Global Trade Network, of which St Ives business and former Huntingdonshire Chamber of Commerce chairman Stuart Gibbons is vice-chairman, has been launched as a way of helping exporters feed off one another's' experience of overseas markets. The fledgling organisation has the backing of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and East of England International (EEI) which deliver export services in the region. More than 90 people attended the launch event at the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, after which GTN chairman Keith Lambourne, who is export director of ACO, said: "We are absolutely delighted with the way the event went, both in terms of the quality and numbers attending and in the feedback we've had. "The aim was for an evening that combined knowledge with networking and added a social element which, in a way, sums of the ethos of the GTN." The meeting heard from Michael Rose, former managing Director of Butterley Brick and now chairman of the London Building Centre, who said the drive to get into exporting had to come from the top of the company and that, with the domestic markets facing problems, now a good time to get started. But he stressed the need to do the necessary homework. "Visit the market," he said. "Go to trade shows and take a look around, find out what the competition is doing. Do some research among your staff for language skills and you'll be amazed how useful that can be. "Use the services that are there to help you, whether that's UKTI, British Embassies, Chambers of Commerce or the banks. These are things that are not available in the home market. Have a plan: have goals and aims. Think about the market and see if there is a place for you - a niche." Greer and Bobby Deal of Sutton, near Earith, have already signed up both their companies, Cr\u00E8me de la Cr\u00E8me and Global Regulatory Services, following the evening. "Exporting can be a lonely business and so it is a real boost to be able to talk those who've done it", Greer said. "In just three conversations we are able to justify the time we spent attending. We have made contacts and gained knowledge that is going to help us in markets as diverse as China and Germany. Richard Yin, from China Business Link, believes involvement in groups such the Global Trade Network is hugely important. "People have experience in many different areas, and GTN can bring them together. We know that for British businesses to develop relationships with Chinese companies will be different to working with other markets." INFORMATION: Stuart Gibbons, managing director of Le Mark Self-Adhesive Limited is on 01480 494540. The Open University is set to launch a degree course designed for exporters.