MANUFACTURING companies in Huntingdonshire, many of them seasoned exporters, will be encouraging other firms in the district to take their first steps into overseas markets later this month.

The Huntingdonshire Manufacturers Association (HMA) has organised an event in conjunction with the district council's economic development team and central government bodies to help firms develop their full sales potential in export markets.

On offer will be advice on how to get into and develop overseas markets from those who have a track record, how to get research and development tax credits, how to negotiate the necessary finance, and an opportunity to network with exporters, bankers and tax experts, including George Hay's Barry Jefferd.

UK Trade and Investment will be explaining how companies may be eligible for £650 of support to take part in a trade mission to Mexico City later in the year, and individual advice will be available from HM Revenue and Customs at the event, at HDC's Pathfinder House Civic Suite on Thursday January 26 from 7.30am until 12.30pm.

HMA chairman Stuart Gibbons said: "In a tough business environment Huntingdonshire-based business know we must up our game to a much higher level. Particularly in the area of exporting, this is where the Government continues to stress the need for extra effort to ensure swifter economic recovery."

Those attending the event would have the opportunity to hear how past Hunts Post business award winners built their international export success and the support they gained and continued to enjoy, he added.

"These skills and tips will be passed on to new and potential Huntingdonshire manufactures with the opportunity to network with successful local exporting companies and their key providers.

"In the future there is the opportunity to see the skills and manufacturing expertise of Huntingdonshire being representative globally by bespoke trade missions organized by the HMA and supported by UKTI, hence 'exporting Huntingdonshire."

Mr Gibbons said the initiative had been endorsed by business leader Lord Digby Jones, who had said the UK will pull itself out of the economic malaise only by trading its way out. "And that means exporting manufacturing"