Government-backed online service aims to help 20,000 UK SMEs to boost their exporting capability by 2016

HSBC has today been announced as the first corporate sponsor of Open to Export, an online export community backed by Government and business, which aims by 2016 to help 20,000 businesses by offering free access to its forum, webinars and industry contacts.

The service has been developed in direct response to the need identified by UK SMEs for trusted, practical advice available all in one place on the full range of issues they face when identifying and moving into new markets.

The Open to Export website provides an open, collaborative and responsive platform where SMEs can connect, learn and talk with experts and peers to improve their effectiveness when doing business abroad.

Through the website companies can:

  • Get practical insight and advice from successful exporters and subject matter experts via webinars, country and topic guides and case studies
  • Benefit from bespoke answers to export questions from experts and peers in the forum and live Q&As
  • Connect with contacts from support organisations, events, opportunities and potential partners

Regular contributors include government departments, trade associations, private sector trade specialists and successful exporters such as DIT, HMRC, Defra, the Institute of Export, the British and Overseas Chambers of Commerce and DHL.

Since launching in late 2012, the website now regularly attracts 30,000 unique visits a month and has a community of nearly 6,000 registered users.

As Principal Partner, HSBC is supporting Open to Export alongside founders Department for International Trade, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Export, and marketing solutions and websites provider Yell as part of its ongoing commitment to helping businesses of all sizes achieve their growth ambitions.

The bank will be contributing content to the website and have presence at key trade and sector specific events throughout the year and across the UK alongside Open to Export in order to engage customers and prospects face to face and connect them to practical support.

Ian Stuart, Head of Commercial Banking UK and Co-Head of Commercial Banking Europe at HSBC, said: “HSBC is determined to help Britain’s ambitious businesses grow and expand into new markets overseas. As the leading international trade bank, we are here to support businesses of all sizes, and at what whatever stage in their international growth. That’s why we are bringing our knowledge, expertise and global connectivity to the partnership with Open to Export and helping to build a service that offers practical support and advice to those looking to export.”

Successful technology entrepreneur and Open to Export Chairman, Julian Hucker, said: “Open to Export has proved there is a demand for a peer to peer community focussed on exporting. HSBC’s involvement now brings a wealth of international trade expertise and connections that will greatly help us to deliver our ambitious plans to develop the service and grow that community to help 20,000 companies by 2016. I wish this had been around when I was building my last business.

The announcement of HSBC’s partnership with Open to Export comes ahead of DIT’s Export Week, where both will be exhibiting as part of the Explore Export roadshow. Open to Export will also be conducting the first in a series of surveys aiming to identify the driving factors behind decisions being made on international growth in the coming year, which will in turn help shape the website’s content and features to ensure a relevant and responsive service for its users.

Companies can browse the site and register for free at

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Notes to Editors

For enquiries relating to Open to Export:
Austin Brailey / Phil Szomszor
Firefly Communications
PR for Open to Export
0203 170 8008

For enquiries relating to HSBC and HSBC’s partnership with Open to Export:
Matthew O’Toole
Senior Media Relations Manager
HSBC Commercial Banking UK and Europe
0207 9919205

About Open to Export
Open to Export is the Government supported free, online community for UK companies looking to grow internationally. It brings together experts from across the private sector and government agencies to help small and medium sized UK businesses successfully enter international markets.

Users can gain practical insights on key international trade topics from webinars, guides, case studies and special features, as well as getting bespoke advice from experts and peers in the Q&A forum. The content is produced by users and industry experts, and anyone who has value to offer exporters can contribute.

Open to Export became a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC) at the beginning of 2014 and is part of the Government’s SME export strategy. It has the support of Department for International Trade, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Export, and marketing solutions and websites provider, Yell as its founders. It will continue to operate as an independent open platform.

The company is led by an independent non-executive Chairman – tech entrepreneur, Julian Hucker.

About HSBC Commercial Banking
For nearly 150 years we have been where the growth is, connecting customers to opportunities. Today, HSBC Commercial Banking serves businesses ranging from small enterprises to large multinationals in almost 60 developed and faster-growing markets around the world. Whether it is working capital, trade finance or payments and cash management solutions, we provide the tools and expertise that businesses need to thrive. With a network covering three quarters of global commerce, we make HSBC the world’s leading international trade and business bank.

For more information visit

Export Action Plan