FIRMS specialising in the IT, commercial marine, aerospace and environmental sectors will help drive regional export growth says Hampshire Chamber of Commerce as Export Week starts today.

Chief executive Stewart Dunn said the county’s core business strengths will be at the heart of export performance in the years ahead as the UK looks to sell more goods and services into overseas markets.

His forecast follows what has widely been seen as an export-friendly Budget and comes as an accredited network of overseas business centres is being developed in 41 countries to help UK exporters.

Mr Dunn said: “The Chancellor’s move to double the amount of export finance to £3 billion is welcome given the subdued and disappointing global demand for UK exports in recent years.

“Export Week gives us a chance to highlight the enhanced government support now available to exporters so we can compete more effectively with other countries.

“With its renowned specialisms in innovation, technology, commercial marine and environmental services, Hampshire is ideally placed to drive export trade as market demand picks up.”

Export Week, which ends on Friday, is run by the government’s export department UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and supported by regional partners such as Hampshire Chamber.

The week includes seminars and trade workshops across the country including many with a dedicated focus on individual growth markets.

A Meet the Expert event on Australian opportunities is being held at the De Vere Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton on Friday.

Hampshire Chamber is the lead chamber in the South East for the UKTI’s Overseas Business Networks initiative, designed to connect firms with accredited overseas business centres and support services.

Regional co-ordinator Mark Baulch, who works from the Chamber’s Fareham office, said: “Export finance problems stop many companies from getting their goods and services into new markets so we are delighted that the Chancellor has doubled the amount of lending available.

“However, funding is only the start. The Chamber network is there to help businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to complete the whole export journey from evaluating an opportunity through to planning for success, making connections and bringing goods and services to market.”