More Lancashire firms must start selling overseas if the county’s economy is to grow during 2015, according to an export expert.

Clive Drinkwater, Regional Director for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in the North West, said the support of the international network of trade experts would provide the backing to those seeking to sell overseas.

He highlighted Chemical Innovations Ltd (CIL), the manufacturer of ground-breaking rubber and polyurethane products, as an example of a business thriving on the back of global sales.

The firm, which has its headquarters in Bamber Bridge, won the Be Inspired Business Awards’ prestigious Business of the Year prize last September.

Mr Drinkwater said: “CIL was set up as a company which distributed other firm’s products and is now one which makes its own, selling more than three-quarters of its products across the world.

“UKTI has supported its expansion with advice on how to enter new markets, brokering meetings with potential customers and inviting the company on trade missions, and the success is evident of what can be achieved.

“The result is CIL has seen its export growth rise from 20 per cent to 80 per cent, a four-fold increase.

“This is just one example of how a business with the right support can grow, which brings benefits both at home and abroad.”

For another year, UKTI has signed up to support at the BIBAs, the biggest and most-established business awards in Lancashire which has 18 prizes up for grabs to firms across the county.

Last September, Blackpool-based lighting specialist Chelsom picked up the Exporter of the Year award.

Last Friday, the awards hosted its ‘boot camp’ workshop for businesses seeking to apply for one of its prizes at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).

It saw a number of businesses given hints and tips by experts from the university’s Department of Enterprise on how they can make their entries potential winners.

Babs Murphy, chief executive of awards organisers, the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Ahead of our 2014 awards, we commissioned LUMS to carry out a major research project which bench-marked the BIBAs against the leading awards in the world.

“This learning has been developed over the past 12 months and was fed in to the boot camp we held for our potential applicants last week.

“One thing people never say about the BIBAs is that winning one is easy, so we hope that those attending this workshop will have got a ‘leg up’ towards success in ‘the one they all want to win.’”