Page 6: Conclusion
For many years different departments and agencies were offering business organisations various types of services. Businesses were faced with a bewildering range of advice which may have deterred some businesses from seeking help.
Access to Overseas Trade Services is available today through Business Links. Business Links were launched in July 1992 as a single point of access for business support services. Each Business Link represents a partnership between the key local enterprise support organisations, TECs, Chambers of Commerce, Enterprise Agencies and Local Authorities.
Their aim is to provide a range of services for businesses from start-up information and advice to innovation and technological services. The aim of this integration of services is to meet customer needs more effectively and to improve the competitiveness of local businesses. For example, imagine that your business is in a British town and that you are considering the possibility of exporting your products to another country. The single access point of contact would be the Business Link service who would then discuss with you what is required to implement your plans.
About 70-80 Export Development Counsellors are being recruited by Business Links to offer specialist help and advice. They will work with their customers to plan and implement a suitable export strategy and develop international trade potential.
There are many other services, some of which are specifically tailored to the needs of particular groups of customers. The services are used extensively. For example, in 1996/7 OTS supported 10,500 participants in overseas trade fairs and 2,686 participants used the Outward Missions Service. The aim is to provide a comprehensive service at each stage of the export process, whether it is with the initial planning, research and development, the promotion of products, the appointment of agents or the development of further markets.