Support for exporting

Advisory support for exporting

Guide

There are several sources of advice for businesses in Northern Ireland wanting to trade overseas.

Trader Support Service

New rules for trading between Great Britain and Northern Ireland took effect on 1 January 2021.

The Trader Support Service can help your business adapt to the changes. The service is free to use and:

  • offers comprehensive education, training and advice about the changes to the way your goods move under the Northern Ireland Protocol
  • can complete customs and safety and security declarations on your behalf where these are required for movements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland so you do not have to access HMRC systems directly

Sign up for the Trader Support Service.

Export Support Service (ESS)

The Export Support Service is a UK government helpline and online service that businesses can access to get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. 

It is a free service available to all UK businesses. You can access the Export Support Service online or call the export support team on Tel 0300 303 8955.

Invest Northern Ireland support

Invest NI offers a range of advisory support to businesses planning to sell outside Northern Ireland:

  • Workshops - suitable for businesses of all sizes, whether currently exporting or planning to export. Practical Export Skills workshops can assist those with operational responsibility for export business or senior staff who want a thorough understanding of the processes and practicalities of exporting. Businesses participating also have the opportunity to avail of a one-to-one mentoring session with an experienced export adviser. Each workshop costs £50 (including VAT) per person
  • In-market research - Trade Advisers are based in Brazil, China (Beijing), Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tokyo, Australia, Dubai, Europe, India, London (construction sector), Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United States of America. Additionally, specialist food advisors are located in France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • Trade Advisory Services (TAS) GB/ROI - the Trade Advisory Service service provides consultants to work with businesses and assist them to grow their sales in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. New exporters can benefit from practical advice in identifying and addressing barriers to export trade while experienced exporters will benefit from increased export sales through current and new export market development and capability development. 
  • Legal advice - assistance for companies new to exporting or selling into new overseas markets. This support is subject to eligibility criteria.
  • Translation services - support for translation services for businesses new to foreign language markets and interpreting services for in-market meetings. This support is subject to eligibility criteria.

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce

Chamber Connections support can help you access trade advice and establish contacts in international markets. Connecting You to International Chambers can put businesses in touch with contacts in overseas markets. Connecting You to Local Businesses can link you to experienced exporters, so you can benefit from their experience.

The Export Documentation service from NI Chamber offers a range of services to help exporters complete the necessary paperwork required when exporting.

NI Chamber can help your business with customs declarations by processing import declarations to the Customs Declarations Service (CDS) for movements from GB to NI. To register for this service you should email: brendan.martin@northernirelandchamber.com.

NI Chamber can also review your import and export processes to ensure that current processes are compliant and that export activity is accompanied by the correct documentation and appropriate codes. To register for this service you should email: brendan.martin@northernirelandchamber.com.

The NI Chamber International Hub aims to help businesses grow globally. 

The International Division provides practical business support, expert guidance and the opportunity for peer learning and connections for NI Chamber's member businesses. It also hosts collaborative forums for established exporters and focused workshops for new exporters.

InterTradeIreland

InterTradeIreland’s Funding Advisory Service for Established Businesses is aimed at SMEs who are looking for new or alternative sources of funding to finance business growth. 

20 companies each year will be given the opportunity to participate in the programme. 14 from the Republic of Ireland six from Northern Ireland. The objective of the programme is to improve the capacity of participants to raise finance to enable their business to grow. 

Note applicants to the programme will be required to have a minimum annual turnover of £100,000 (or €uro equivalent), have a trading history of a minimum of 18 months and should have attended a workshop. Applicants to the programme will be required to submit their most recent annual accounts and a business plan.

Business finance and support finder

The Business Finance and Support Finder is a searchable database that can help you find publicly-funded sources of assistance. Support may be available in a number of forms, including financial assistance and free or subsidised advice services.