NORTH West Hampshire’s MP wants the government to help the county’s “world-class” businesses reach their global potential.

Kit Malthouse has called for a ‘buddy scheme’ to help small businesses looking to export their products and create new jobs in the process.

The county’s Chamber of Commerce estimates about one in five Hampshire businesses are exporting currently.

And according to figures uncovered by Mr Malthouse from the House of Commons library, businesses in north and central Hampshire are selling £20.7million worth of local produce around the world every day.

Companies in north Hampshire alone, which includes Basingstoke & Deane, exported a total of £7.8bn over two years – £2.4bn in 2016 and £5.4bn in 2017.

Mr Malthouse said: “Our world-class businesses in Hampshire are selling many millions of pounds of goods around the world and it’s no surprise considering they are excelling in industries such as science, technology, engineering, manufacturing and the arts.

“I want to make sure they have every opportunity to do the best they can, especially our smaller businesses, who may be thinking about exporting but lacking resource or the know-how.

“As a former small business owner myself, I know I would have benefited greatly if I could have accessed practical advice and support from a larger local exporter, and I’d like to see our government take the lead in organising a buddy scheme which helps small businesses and creates jobs in the process.”

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce’s head of policy Mark Baulch said: “We provide lots of advice and guidance to local businesses and we’d like to make it even easier for them to sell globally.

“A buddy scheme has massive potential in Hampshire as our small businesses are fortunate enough to have some very successful export businesses on their doorstep which they could access.

“It’s a great scheme which we could work on together and help Hampshire thrive.”