Sign-up for 2 free webinars during E-Commerce Week

March 5, 2024

new campaign has been launched to encourage 70,000 small businesses in the UK to sell internationally on e-commerce platforms.

‘E-Commerce Week’ will start on 18 March and will include a series of events and webinars on the theme of how to ‘put the ease in e-commerce’.

The campaign is being supported by the UK’s E-Commerce Trade Commission, which was convened by the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) in June 2023.

IOE&IT will be hosting two free webinars during the week, both of which are now open for registration:

Commission

The E-Commerce Trade Commission advises the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) and will run until June 2025.

It includes some of the world’s largest ecommerce platforms, including Amazon, Alibaba, eBay, Google and Shopify. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Association of International Courier & Express Services (AICES) are also members.

It was set up following a report from the Social Market Foundation, commissioned by Amazon, which found that encouraging 70,000 SMEs in the UK to export online could boost the UK economy by £9.3bn GVA.

‘Entrepreneurial spirit’

IOE&IT director general, Marco Forgione, who chairs the commission, said he was “delighted” to be launching the new campaign.

“The E-Commerce Trade Commission brings together key marketplaces and organisations united in our ambition to help UK businesses benefit from international trade. We know that exporting for a small business can seem daunting, but education is key – which is where E-Commerce Week comes in.

“We’re here to hold every business owner’s hand through every step of the process – from finding out which countries have a strong desire for your product, to how to deal with customs, to finding the best value logistics for your business.

“No matter what concerns or questions you may have, we’re here to help. This is your opportunity to find out just how far you can take your businesses.”

‘Put the ease into e-commerce’

E-Commerce Week is looking to tackle current barriers to trade, laying out an easy path to exporting via e-commerce for current business owners and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. The campaign has three key pillars:

  1. Entrepreneur: It all starts with an idea. The UK is brimming with entrepreneurs with ideas for goods and services which can be sold all around the world.
  2. Education: However, the practical elements of bringing your business idea to life and selling online around the world can be tough. E-Commerce Week will provide both current business owners and the next generation of entrepreneurs all the tools they need to learn about how to start selling globally via e-commerce.
  3. Export: The final goal. SMEs in the UK can scale their business for success and sell to a global marketplace.

new website has been set up for the campaign, which houses practical information on exporting as well as inspiring case studies of small businesses which have successfully grown through global digital sales.

Timely

The campaign comes as the UK continues to forge its independent trading path post-Brexit. It has signed free trade agreements with several countries – including Australia, Japan and New Zealand – since leaving the EU, and also secured a deal to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Negotiations are ongoing for a deal with India.

E-Commerce Week also comes as a potentially worrying cliff edge for companies using e-commerce approaches. A longstanding  WTO moratorium on customs charges for cross-border digital trade has been extended to 2026 after policymakers agreed an extension at the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Trade Conference.