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Institute of Export unveils business helpdesk to aid members during COVID-19

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Please see below and attached a press release from the Institute of Export & International Trade. 

Kind regards,  
William Barns-Graham - Senior Content Editor

Institute of Export unveils business helpdesk to aid members during COVID-19 and beyond

 Advice on HR * legal * tax * health & safety * VAT issues all covered by new service

Free of charge to Institute business members

The Institute of Export & International Trade is today launching IOE&IT Business Shield - an expert advice service to help business members run their firms more cost-effectively and with confidence.

With expert telephone helplines and document sources at its core, IOE&IT Business Shield allows the Institute's business members to have almost unlimited access to advice on HR, health & safety, legal and tax issues - all as part of their existing membership.

Right time

As the COVID-19 lockdown begins to ease and those involved in export and importing look to opportunities from the UK's future trading agreements, the Institute believes the time is right to launch a helpdesk to support members in the day-to-day running of their businesses.

Marco Forgione, the IOE&IT's director general, said:

"Managing a business that trades internationally is challenging at the best of times. You need to be outward-facing, exploiting your company's strengths and opportunities in a post-Brexit world, yet at the same time mastering the detail of internal business management. 

"The coronavirus pandemic makes these tasks especially complex. This is why the Institute is now providing its business members with this range of critical services - including advice lines and business documentation - for peace of mind during the lockdown and after."

In its initial response to the pandemic, the Institute had already granted a free three-month subscription extension for all members to aid them with cashflow and to position international trade as central to the economic recovery. 

What's included in IOE&IT Business Shield:


A telephone hotline to experienced advisors covering five areas critical to running any business: HR, legal, health & safety, tax and VAT. Members have unlimited access to all lines, with the HR and legal lines available during office hours 365 days a year.


A document library accessible 24/7 with almost 800 free downloadable template documents covering employment, health & safety and legal services.


  • HR and Health & Safety Healthcheck
  • Newsroom with HR and health & safety articles
  • Legal document library including a link to a debt recovery service

Leading supplier

The Institute has partnered with Quest Cover, a leading supplier of business advice helpdesks to trade associations and chambers of commerce, to provide IOE&IT Business Shield.

Steve Charles, head of business partnerships at Quest, said the firm employs "highly qualified, experienced advisors to give advice on these matters, who are empathetic and yet can give Institute members answers on a range of business issues".

He said a current focus for the firm's HR advice lines involves "advice around managing HR through COVID-19, including how to furlough workers, working from home and so on".

Kelly Rawles, head of membership services at the IOE&IT, said the new helpdesk also would help members "manage their COVID-19 recovery - including hiring staff and re-admitting furloughed staff - as well as providing support to build their businesses going forward".

She said that in these testing times, "it is more important than ever to support all our members, including individual members who can upgrade to business membership to avail of this timely and practical new membership benefit". 

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For further information and comment, please contact:
Kelly Rawles, head of membership services, Institute of Export:
Marco Forgione, director general, Institute of Export & International Trade: 07771 902036


The Institute of Export & International Trade was established over 85 years ago to support UK businesses in growing their international markets and trade. The Institute is the leading association of exporters and importers. We provide education and training to professionalise the UK's international traders. As a partner with UK government we deliver national and international programmes, acting as evangelists for the UK and establishing UK processes and standards globally.