What is the UK Export Academy?

Businesses that sell overseas are more competitive, profitable, and can grow their sales faster.

Developing a capacity to export can be challenging, but this is where the UK Export Academy from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) can help.

In this article we’ll explore what the UK Export Academy is, how businesses can benefit from being a part of it, and how they can join and take the next steps on their global growth journey.

What is the UK Export Academy?

Launched in 2020, the UK Export Academy is a free online training programme led by expert international trade specialists and designed to give UK businesses the confidence and expertise needed to grow sales of their goods and services around the world.

Now in their fourth year of delivery, the programme has helped thousands of businesses across the UK to accelerate their ability to sell their products and services overseas.

Through its calendar of training events, the UK Export Academy helps businesses to discover their export potential and upskill their knowledge of trading outside of the UK.

The UK Export Academy supports businesses in designing their future export plan, allowing opportunities for networking with like-minded businesses, and providing a guide to the next steps a business needs to take to sell overseas.

How does the UK Export Academy work?

Whether a business is exporting for the first time, or looking to develop their knowledge further, the UK Export Academy has a calendar of online training events available to suit the needs of any exporting business.

Businesses that sign up to can attend the events live to pose questions to international trade experts, learn alongside other business owners, and get help and advice on how to overcome any challenges of selling overseas.

Alternatively, the programme allows a business owner to watch the session recording back at a time that is convenient to them.

The events calendar is always evolving, with new events being added all the time.

The programme is delivered in three stages depending on the requirements of the business:


If a business is new to exporting, this is the perfect place to start their exporting journey.

These events repeat each month and cover topics that are essential to becoming a successful exporter. 
Companies can use these sessions to build their knowledge and confidence if they’re relatively new to selling internationally or interested in learning how to start.

Businesses also have the option of attending all ten sessions, or just one or two and dip-in and dip-out to suit their needs.


Once a business owner has a good understanding of the basics, the Masterclass events will broaden their knowledge in areas such as:

  • selling online
  • developing your international sales and marketing strategy
  • managing overseas partners
  • funding global growth
  • logistics and moving goods overseas.

Sector & Market

The Sector and Market events help businesses discover how they can use DBT’s sector experts and overseas networks to access sector specific and in-market opportunities. 
These events explore topics such as:

  • the benefits of free trade agreements
  • how to determine which products and services are a good fit for which international market
  • learning how to do business in first or next overseas target markets.

How do I join the UK Export Academy?

Interested businesses can sign up to be a part of the UK Export Academy by visiting the UK Export Academy website.

Once signed up, businesses can book onto as many events as they wish.

With hours of content available, the programme is designed to be flexible and work around a business’s needs.

To help businesses decide where to begin, the UK Export Academy offers weekly “Start your Journey with the UK Export Academy” sessions.

During these sessions a UK Export Academy Adviser will illustrate how best to navigate the programme, along with what other government support is available to businesses from DBT.

Aside from the regular Essentials events that help businesses understand the fundamentals of international trade, the UK Export Academy also runs a number of other events:

Listen to expert guidance from fellow business owners

Join the monthly “In Conversation With…” events to hear top tips, insights and advice from Export Champions who have witnessed global success through selling their products and services internationally.

DBT’s Export Champions include businesses of different sizes and from a wide range of sectors, across the UK.

Tap into the expertise of DBT’s diverse range of in-market experts

Hear from DBT market specialists in the “Get your Business ready for….” webinars, where businesses can hear top tips and advice on whether overseas markets are right for their product or service.

With events focusing on markets including the US and Canada, countries across South Asia, and Azerbaijan, these webinars are designed to help businesses assess whether or not a market is a good fit for their international growth ambitions, and how a business can begin trading in these markets.

Catch up at a time that suits you

The recordings and slides from events are available to directly download from a UK Export Academy account, once the event has happened.

Recordings are available for four weeks after the event, so a business owner can catch up in their own time if they can’t attend the live session.

In addition, the UK Export Academy has made a range of their most popular Essentials events available on-demand, so companies can watch anywhere in the world, and in any time zone.

What do other business owners think of the UK Export Academy?

Clare Suttie, Director at Hertfordshire based language services company Atlas Translations, has attended seven UK Export Academy events to gain an understanding of the essentials of selling overseas not only to benefit her own business, but also to be able to resonate with hurdles that her international clients may be facing.

Clare commented that the UK Export Academy can, “open people's eyes to the opportunities that are available - especially for those selling services, as we tend to think only physical products are exported. 
“SMEs can assume that it's expensive to export, but it doesn't have to be. The UK Export Academy can really support and encourage [companies].”

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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