Boris Johnson launches SMEs global International Business Programme

Launched on 2 February, the programme will support companies in tech, life sciences and urban sectors. It comes after the mayor pumped £285,000 into 20 creative enterprise projects in September 2015.

“The eclectic range of projects I have seen over the course of the High Street Fund is a remarkable testament to the creativity and enterprise of Londoners, and I’m delighted to announce pledges towards 20 of those today,” said Johnson at the time.

Some 50 companies will be accepted in the first group on the new International Business Programme, including transport app Gett, cycling firm Blaze, job marketplace Adzuna, flower delivery service Bloom & Wild and emotion tracking platform Realeyes.

Those taking part will receive mentoring from experts with a view to reach new international markets and grow existing overseas operations. The goal is to assist 800 London SMEs over the next three years.

The initiative has been developed by Johnson’s promotional company London & Partners and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Other partners include BDO, KPMG, PA Consulting Group, Benoy and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Johnson said: “London has a strong heritage as an international trading city and our position at the centre of the business world means the city offers the perfect springboard for companies looking to expand internationally.

“London’s businesses and entrepreneurs continue to be at the forefront of innovation and creativity and I have seen first-hand the demand for their goods and services across the world. By helping the capital’s businesses become the next global leaders we will see the creation of more jobs for Londoners.”

Mentors will include business leaders from the US, Europe and Asia, with Unruly co-founder Sarah Wood, Decoded CEO Kathryn Parsons and Nilesh Gopali, the country head for India at cloudBuy all signed up.

Serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu is also on board and she highlighted “a new wave of high-growth companies” amid the development of tech and creative enterprises in the capital.

“International expansion is a key enabler in helping us to produce more UK businesses of genuine scale,” she said.

“It is important that we draw upon our existing strengths from the large number of UK companies who are already international success stories while removing the barriers for the next generation of rising stars.”

According to KPMG Small Business accounting, 28 per cent of London’s SMEs are trading internationally and 40 per cent plan to join the trend in the next five years.

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