Latest News & Updates

1
Aug

July Export Champion Interview Spotlight

In July’s monthly round up of Export Champion interviews we learn more about healthy water crackers, fish and chip equipment, and innovative 3D virtual world and cloud solutions.

Interview | Nicola Herbertson | CEO

 How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?

I applied to join the first cohort as we have always seen the commonwealth as a key market for our innovative products and services. When I got the email about the opportunity to apply to join the second cohort, I reapplied because of the growing awareness and interest in our innovative and socially responsible 3D virtual reality…

 


Read full interview at:
http://www.commonwealthfirst.org/export-champions/profiles/3dnovations

 

Interview | Victoria Hopkins | Managing Director

 What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?

We have spent the past few years investing in our manufacturing department both with new machinery and implementing a Lean culture – which resulted in increasing our production capacity by 20%. I am a advocate of innovation and now we have the right foundations in place we are able to not only develop our existing business but look at diversifying into new markets…

 

 

 

Read full interview at: http://www.commonwealthfirst.org/export-champions/profiles/hopkins-catering-equipment-ltd

 

Interview | Abby Smith | Sales Manager

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?

In 5 years time we would like to have doubled the size of the business including having established a US office. It’s important to us that in 5 years time the Rakusen’s & Bonn’s brand have a base of distribution Canada & Australia from which we can grow. Another key aim for the next 5 years to establish a string name for Rakusen’s as a Gluten free supplier both in the UK & abroad. This is something we’ve been doing well for 30 years & need to shout about more…

Read full interview at: http://www.commonwealthfirst.org/export-champions/profiles/rakusens-ltd

18
Jul

CommonwealthFirst Export Day for UK’s Best Small and Medium Enterprises

CommonwealthFirst hosted its first Export Day on Monday 17th July at One Great George Street, London. The event combined its eighty SME Export Champions with business mentors, government and business representatives.

The highlight of the event was the introduction of the latest cohort of UK SME Export Champions. These companies represent various regions and business sectors, showing rich breadth of innovation and excellence that the UK has to offer the world. These include businesses delivering off-grid renewable energy, healthy snacks, innovative antimicrobial technology, teddy bears, and even a digital knitting machine.

Whilst most of the Export Day was focused on encouraging cross sector collaborations, there were presentations from Richard Snowdon, Director at Royal Mail International on ‘exporting through ecommerce’, and Luke Walden, FX Specialist at Godi Financial on ‘FX management as an early stage exporter’.

Opening the Export Day, Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC) said, “The trading environment is very challenging. The CommonwealthFirst programme provides a wonderful platform combining support and mentoring with high profiled trade missions, but it is only through an on-going focus on improving the quality of products and services along with excellent customer service, sensitive to diverse cultural needs.”

Applications to become an Export Champion for the CommonwealthFirst programme are ongoing. All submissions will be considered for our fourth and final cohort to be announced in winter 2017. Apply now!

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) with Royal Mail as lead sponsor and i-genius as implementation partner. Its mission is to encourage and support small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth. Its SME trade missions have been to India, Malaysia and Singapore with the next one to Canada scheduled for October.

29
Jun

Third Cohort of UK SMEs selected to become Export Champions

30 British businesses selected for distinguished programme

CommonwealthFirst is delighted to announce the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions programme. Representing various regions of the UK and business sectors, our latest batch of Export Champions applicants proved to be of the highest calibre yet and they highlight the variety of innovation and excellence that the UK SME sector has to offer the world. Applicants included off-grid renewable energy, healthy snacks, innovative antimicrobial technology, teddy bears, a digital knitting machine, as well as award winning baby and children’s food.

CommonwealthFirst, in partnership with Royal Mail and i-genius as implementation partner, was established by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade and invest across the Commonwealth; a market comprising 52 English speaking countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion – at least 60% of whom are under the age of 30 – and a combined GDP of approximately US$9.6 trillion.

Along with our first and second cohort, new Export Champions will benefit from access to high-level networking events and introductions, training, mentoring and tailored trade missions – with Canada and Australia taking place this autumn and next spring respectively.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, said “I am delighted to see such an exciting array of applicants to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions. I look forward to meeting as many of the new Cohort as possible at our Export Day in July.”

The below businesses have been selected based on their ambition, innovation and the impact that they will have across Commonwealth markets:

BMM Weston
Dakin-Flathers
Donald Russell Limited
Dura Composites Ltd
Early Bird Ventures Ltd
ePortfolios Ltd
Extremis Technology Ltd
Forest Gin
Giving Tree Ventures Ltd
Goodness Gracious Foods Ltd
ICC Solutions
Joe and Seph’s
John Reid & Sons
Kniterate Ltd
Merrythought Limited
Naturally Tribal
PACK’D Ltd
Principle Healthcare International
Qnola
Redstor Holdings Limited
Sacoma
SAM Labs
Talley Group
The Coconut Company
Universal Smart Cards
Versapak
Votary
Winch Energy Limited
Wire Belt Company
YouTeachMe Ltd

Applications for the fourth and final cohort of UK SMEs will open in autumn/winter 2017, however, we are accepting on-going applications as of now: www.commonwealthfirst.org

22
May

Export Champions make new business connections in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

CommonwealthFirst has returned from its highly successful trade mission to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which saw our talented delegation of outstanding UK SMEs make new business and invaluable connections within the ASEAN region. The thirteen-person delegation was led by Richard Burge, the newly appointed Chief Executive of Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council with Export Champions representing industries of manufacturing, defense, health, technology, education, science, engineering and consulting.

The intensive programme commenced with a first stop in Kuala Lumpur where the Export Champions received a briefing at British High Commission before going on to meet the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and take part in a on-site visit to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). They then met with Mr Zaky Moh, Senior Director at the SME Development Corporation before meeting with Hon Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry.

The delegation then traveled to Singapore to receive a market opportunities briefing at the British High Commission Singapore and was hosted at an evening reception by the British Singapore Chamber of Commerce. The following day saw them meet with Daniel Kok, General Manager, International Chamber of Commerce Academy and Hon Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry. The visit was concluded with networking opportunities with Singapore entrepreneurs, hosted by Raymond Huang, Kairo Asia and a meeting with CEO, Singapore Business Federation, Mr Ho Meng Kit. Time was set aside for the Export Champions to engage in private meetings with potential regional clients and partners.

The visit to South East Asia was the second such SME trade mission and follows the successful inaugural venture last November to Delhi as part of the India-UK Tech Summit, attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

UK SMEs can apply to become part of the next cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions via: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 5th June.

11
May

New Commonwealth Business leader leads SME Export Champions delegation to Malaysia and Singapore

 

Recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions closes 5th June

The 2nd CommonwealthFirst trade mission will see a delegation of outstanding UK SMEs travel to Malaysia and Singapore on 14-18 May in an effort to win new export contracts.

The thirteen-person delegation will be led by Richard Burge, the newly appointed Chief Executive of Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council.

The Export Champions were selected to represent the best of what British business has to sell to the world with companies drawn from diverse sectors including manufacturing, healthcare, education, technology, food and beverage and creative industries.

The visit to South East Asia is the second such SME trade mission and follows the hugely successful first venture last November to Delhi as part of the India-UK Tech Summit, attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The intensive programme commences with a first stop in Kuala Lumpur where the Export Champions will receive a briefing at British High Commission before going on to meet the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and take part in a on-site visit to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). They will then meeting Mr Zaky Moh, Senior Director at the SME Development Corporation before meeting with Hon Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry.

The delegation will then fly to Singapore to receive a market opportunities briefing at the British High Commission Singapore and be hosted at an evening reception by the British Singapore Chamber of Commerce. They will then meet Daniel Kok, General Manager, International Chamber of Commerce Academy before meeting Hon Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry. The visit will be concluded with networking opportunities with Singapore entrepreneurs, hosted by Raymond Huang, Kairo Asia and a meeting with CEO, Singapore Business Federation, Mr Ho Meng Kit.

Time has been set aside for the Export Champions to engage in private meetings with regional importers.

Mr. Richard Burge, who took up his post at the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council in March said “CommonwealthFirst provides an excellent opportunity for innovative small and medium sized enterprises to better understand new markets and give them an early taste of the practical aspects around international trade. It is through access initiatives such as this, combined with expert support and mentorship, which helps them reach their potential in achieving sustainable growth and in creating new jobs. Our aim is to expand the programme to support SMEs throughout the Commonwealth.”

UK SMEs can apply to become part of the next cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions via: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 5th June.

4
May

April Export Champion Interview Spotlight

In this monthly round up of Export Champion interviews we learn about the value of drones and better learning experiences.

4
May

Britain’s Best SMEs welcomed at Birmingham Briefing

 

CommonwealthFirst organised a briefing on Tuesday 25th April hosted by Birmingham Airport and sponsored by Turkish Airlines to raise awareness of its SME export champions programme and invite further applicants from small firms, which have high growth and international trading potential. Participants included SMEs, journalists, local and regional government representatives, and HE Kena Mphonda, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK.

The regional event highlighted the many opportunities and benefits of trading within the Commonwealth as well as recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions, which opened at the Trade Ministers Meeting last month. The previous intake of SME cohorts participated in a trade mission during the India-UK Tech Summit, Delhi last November which coincided with Theresa May’s first overseas visit as prime minister. The second trade mission is scheduled for Malaysia and Singapore between 14th -18th May 2017.

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) with Royal Mail as lead sponsor and i-genius as implementation partner. Its mission is to encourage and support small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), said, “At a time when trade is under the spotlight, it is encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme.”

To view photos from the briefing, click here!

Applications to become an Export Champion for the CommonwealthFirst programme close 5th June 2017. An announcement on successful applicants for the third cohort will be made in July 2017. We would welcome you extending awareness of the Export Champion to you networks. Apply now!

25
Apr

Birmingham Briefing Photographs

CommonwealthFirst Birmingham Briefing hosted by Birmingham Airport and sponsored by Turkish Airlines on 25th April 2017 raising awareness of the CommonwealthFirst SME Export Champion programme.

3
Apr

Birmingham Briefing, 25th April 2017

CommonwealthFirst is organising a briefing on Tuesday 25th April at Birmingham Airport to raise awareness of its SME export champions programme and invite further applicants from small firms which have high growth and trading. The Birmingham briefing is being hosted by Birmingham Airport and sponsored by Turkish Airlines.

The regional event will highlight recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions, which opened at the Trade Ministers Meeting last month. The previous intake of SME cohorts participated in a trade mission during the India-UK Tech Summit, Delhi last November which coincided with Theresa May’s first overseas visit as prime minister. The second trade mission is scheduled for Malaysia and Singapore in May 2017.

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) with Royal Mail as lead sponsor. Its mission is to encourage small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), said, “At a time when trade is under the spotlight, it is encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme.”

Places are limited for the Birmingham Briefing. See agenda below. To register your interest, email Barry Crisp: info@commonwealthfirst.org

Agenda

11:00 Registration and coffee

11:15 Welcome remarks
David Winstanley, Chief Operating Officer, Birmingham Airport
Richard Burge, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council
Martin Levermore, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Birmingham Commonwealth Association

11:30 Address by HE Kena Mphonda, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK

11:45 Address by Selim Ozturk, General Manager, Turkish Airlines

12:00 Presentation on CommonwealthFirst Export Champion Programme
John Pemberton-Pigott, Director of Programmes, CWEIC
Helen Bellamy-Booth, Channel Manager, Royal Mail
Tommy Hutchinson, Founder & CEO, i-genius

12:10 Questions and roundtable discussion

12:55 Concluding remarks
Uday Dholakia, Brand Ambassador, Birmingham Airport

13:00 Buffet lunch and networking

14:00 Close

Venue
Birmingham Airport
The Flight Deck
5th Floor Diamond House
Birmingham Airport, B26 3QJ

Map, Directions & Parking: View and Download

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via: www.commonwealthfirst.org – Applications close on 5th June and the third cohort will be announced in July 2017.

CWF EC*: CommonwealthFirst Export Champion

 

 

 

31
Mar

March Export Champion Interview Spotlight

This month we learn about the home of ‘The World’s Original Marmalade Awards’, fibreglass composite structures, innovative fire safety solutions and hospital and healthcare medical lighting.