Latest News & Updates

17
Oct

Chris Sigley, Redstor Holdings, Export Champion Interview

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Chris Sigley, Sales Director

In a nutshell, what is exactly is Redstor data management technology?
The Redstor Pro data management platform offers a flexible Software as a Service (SaaS) providing backup, disaster recovery and archiving of data sitting on multiple systems, from cloud applications, laptops to desktops and servers- based either in-house, at the customer’s site, a 3rd party data center or on cloud platforms. The technology is built to scale, and supports organization with data volumes from 10GB to 1PB.

What is the key thing that makes your business unique against your strongest competitors both home and abroad?
We have built a platform from the ground up to meet our vision of managing and securing our customer data, whenever, wherever it is stored, all from one place. We have converged Backup, DR and Archiving into one solution for SME companies which is what the market demands. Our platform is cloud ready, partner friendly and through our multi-tenanted architecture, is scalable with the ability to cope with exponentially growing data volumes. We have a strong focus on providing service and as such we are true Software as a Service (SaaS) Data Management company.

How did the idea for your business come about?
We believed there was a real need for a company which specialised in Information Protection and was consultative in approach and service led. At the time, we felt many companies were being oversold by “tin shifters”, who were concerned with selling data management tools as opposed to understanding what the customer truly needed and thereby tailoring a solution to match. Our approach enabled us to grow rapidly as we built tremendous relationships built on trust and understanding.

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13
Oct

John Waters, Principle Healthcare International, Export Champion Interview

John Waters, International Sales Director

John Waters, International Sales Director

How did the idea for your business come about?
Our Founder and Chairman, Mike Davies (MBE) started the Principle Healthcare business in 2002. Mike created a business that truly meets people’s individual needs with specialist Healthcare products of the highest quality.

Principle Healthcare has different brands. Which brand industry do you find the most competitive?
Principle Healthcare have products in every category of the Health Supplements industry – all the sectors that Principle Healthcare operate in are highly competitive, particularly where we compete with products from China/India etc.

How do you ensure quality and consistency whilst at the same time remaining competitive?
Principle Healthcare operate on a platform of high quality of product –all of our customers require quality and understand that quality has a cost.eg ingredients, testing, audits etc.

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10
Oct

Luke Johnstone, PACK’D, Export Champion Interview

Luke Johnstone, Managing Director, PACK'D

Luke Johnstone, Managing Director, PACK’D

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
The biggest difficulties have been navigating a new industry. It is both an advantage (as we have a unique and innovate approach) and a difficulty as we are often learning things for the first time. Mentoring and support from The Prince’s Trust has been a huge help.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Entering new markets for the first time. Experienced mentors through CWF will be invaluable.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
Building our community of mentors through The Prince’s Trust, Virgin StartUp and CWF. Bringing strategic investors on board with experience growing Nakd, Chrysallis, MySale, Cardsave and Planet Organic.

How did the idea for your business come about?
A tennis scholarship was abruptly ended by injury but my passion for nutrition remained. Whilst working at the BBC I sought a way to make nutritious smoothies quickly and PACK’D Smoothie Kits were the solution.

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6
Oct

Charlotte Semler and Arabella Preston, Votary, Export Champion Interview

Charlotte Semler and Arabella Preston, Co-Founders

Charlotte Semler and Arabella Preston, Co-Founders

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
I read an article in the Guardian about it and thought it might be relevant for us because Votary is so export focussed despite being small and new.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Arabella Preston and I became friends years ago when we worked together. Arabella subsequently retrained as a makeup artist and built the most incredible career and client base. I was really interested in starting a skincare business so when Arabella told me she was blending her own facial oils and using them on clients Votary was born.

Why do you think Votary has grown so quickly?
Votary has a very clear brand story to tell: We believe in the skin-transforming power of natural plant oils. And our co-founder Arabella Preston is well respected within the beauty industry. We have also been incredibly fortunate to work with retail partners like Liberty in London and Anthropologie in the USA. Their teams have got behind the brand and helped us grow it much faster than we could have done on our own.

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4
Oct

Applications now open for fourth cohort of elite CommonwealthFirst SME programme

 CWF EC

100 companies to be selected in advance of Commonwealth Summit next April.

Today the CommonwealthFirst programme formally opened applications for its fourth cohort intake of UK SMEs. The programme’s mission is 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 in excess of US$10 trillion.

The Commonwealth Factor, with its shared language, complementary legal systems and business practices, helps to reduce trade costs by around 19% between member countries. By 2020 Commonwealth trade is expected to double to US$1 trillion and the CommonwealthFirst programme will be at the forefront of this new wave of Commonwealth businesses.

This prestigious programme has been developed through a partnership between the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and Royal Mail with support from i-genius as implementation partner. Export Champions are provided with unique access and support in their quest to win new business in fast growing Commonwealth markets. Their success is showcased as an encouragement to the wider UK business community.

Building on the significant success of the three current cohorts, the fourth cohort will be selected to become Commonwealth Export Champions according to their ambitions, innovative and flexible approach, potential for overseas growth and export-readiness.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the CWEIC, said “as we select the final companies to be part of the initial programme we expect standards to be higher than ever. This is the right time for UK companies to be thinking about global opportunities.”

Successful businesses will have the opportunity to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Queensland in Australia and the Commonwealth Summit in London in April 2018. There will also be a Trade Mission to Africa building on previous missions to India, Malaysia, Singapore and a visit to Canada in October. They will also receive expert mentoring as well as access to tailored training and networking events.

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 4th December and the fourth and final cohort of the initial 3 year pilot programme will be announced in January 2018.

2
Oct

Gerard Rubio and Triambak Saxena, Kniterate, Export Champion Interview

Triambak-Saxena-Gerard-Rubio

Gerard Rubio and Triambak Saxena, Co-Founders, Kniterate

How did the idea for your business come about?
Kniterate is the brainchild of Gerard Rubio, who four years ago started OpenKnit, an open-source knitting machine. The project went viral thanks to its video “Made in the Neighbourhood”. In the fall of 2015 it was selected to be part of HAX, the world’s first and largest hardware accelerator, in Shenzhen, China. The spring of 2017 we did a Kickstarter campaign in which we raised $636K in crowdfunded finance.

Kniterate is a great innovative product of the future. What sort of impact are you hoping to have?
We want to change the current supply chain model of the garment industry. At the moment retailers ship garments half across the world and end up with excess stock, which then they are forced to mark down, or even worse, throw away. With Kniterate clothing is made locally and on demand, and because it’s made to shape there’s no waste due to cutting fabrics.

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28
Sep

Perez Ochieng, Sacoma, Export Champion Interview

Perez Ochieng, CEO

Perez Ochieng, CEO

Why does SACOMA place a strong emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurship and not just buying and selling products?
SACOMA pursues financial returns through impact investments in trade in sustainable food and agriculture with improved entrepreneurial development and capacity building. We provide very customized services for the farmers and the supply chain clients because that’s what they require. They require a lot of education.

When we prevent physical waste, increase energy efficiency or improve resource productivity, we save money, improve profitability and enhance competitiveness for our final products in the markets.

How do you measure the success/impact of your educational programme.
We have designed our performance management system to align to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): It is a useful framework for communicating and articulating the impact.

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25
Sep

Jonathan Newman, Giving Tree Ventures, Export Champion Interview

Jonathan Newman, Managing Director

Jonathan Newman, Managing Director

What exactly is vacuum frying and freeze drying, and is it healthy?
Freeze drying is a process whereby the fruit is frozen and the moisture is removed via a vacuum. This means 100% of the nutritional content is retained without the need for preservatives. Vacuum frying is a process whereby the vegetables are fried at a very low temperature in a small amount of healthy rice bran oil.  At this temperature, lee oil is absorbed and the nutritional content is retained due to the temperature.

How did the idea for your business come about?
On my travels to the US I noticed how big the freeze dried snack category was. In the UK it’s virtually non-existent. Freeze drying is a brilliant process that preserves the nutritional content leaving a really light, crispy and most importantly, healthy snack without the need of preservatives or added sugar.

How do you ensure the best taste and what’s your most popular product?
Strawberry followed by broccoli. Getting the taste and the texture right took a lot of work and development.  It starts with picking the perfect fruit and veg at the optimum ripeness.  Then it is about timing and temperature. A lot of freeze dried fruit can taste like polystyrene packaging – just air.  However ours is bursting with flavour and has a light crispy texture.

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22
Sep

Commonwealth Business Forum 2018

Commonwealth Business Forum 2018

16-18 April 2018
London, United kingdom

In April 2018, for the first time since 1997, the UK will host all 52 Commonwealth leaders for the 25th Commonwealth Summit; representing the interests of over 2.6 billion people. Throughout the Summit 10,000 top leaders from business, politics, academia and culture will come together to showcase the Commonwealth’s vibrant and diverse network. This is a truly unique and historic opportunity to promote and celebrate the very best of the Commonwealth to a global audience.With a combined GDP of US$14 trillion by 2020 it is estimated that the Commonwealth Factor, shared values, regulatory systems and language, makes trade costs on average19% lower between Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Business Forum is an integral part of the Summit and brings together businesses critical to trade and investment leadership together with Government to debate the issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond. Organised by The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, in partnership with the City of London, this top level business gathering is only accessed by special invitation and will be held across three iconic London venues: the Guildhall, Mansion House and the QEII Conference Centre.

The Commonwealth Business Forum is a unique platform for dialogue, bringing together business and Government leaders from across the Commonwealth
  • The 11th CBF and the first held in the UK in 20 years
  • Opened by the Prime Minister of the UK and addressed by Commonwealth Heads of Government
  • 800 CEOs and board members of leading global companies
  • Commonwealth trade delegations
  • 40+ sessions on key economic and business themes
  • VIP Lounges, exclusive networking and bespoke events
  • Dedicated one-to-one meeting system for participants
CBF 2018 will address the key themes of
  • Accessing modern financial services
  • Easing the pathway for business and growth
  • harnessing Commonwealth technology and innovation
  • Creating a new attitude to sustainable business
  • Mobilising an export economy
  • Attracting inward investment

 

21
Sep

Danielle Copperman, Qnola, Export Champion Interview

Danielle Copperman, Founder

Danielle Copperman, Founder

Tell us about the Wake Up Well™ concept.
We are passionate about encouraging and supporting people to wake up well, but not just through a good breakfast. To us, whilst natural nutrition plays a large part in ensuring you feel and live well, there are many other things which can help to reduce the stresses and strains of modern day life, and particularly how we start each day. How you start the day has a profound impact on how the rest of your day unfolds, and through mindfulness and meditation events, online content, and other products, we are passionate to help people enhance their lives and get the most out of them, one morning at a time.

How did the idea for your business come about?
When I began to make changes to my diet I cut out gluten, grains and refined sugar and this left me, a former granola addict, without much choice for a quick, healthy breakfast in the mornings. I began experimenting with other psuedograins such as quinoa and buckwheat, and that’s how Qnola was born. There was nothing truly healthy on the cereal market and I wanted to change that.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Being a small business with a small team, there are many difficulties but overcoming them is just part of building the business and expanding. I see all difficulties and important lessons and guidance. To begin with, I made all the products by myself as well as distributing them to suppliers and individuals, and this was by far the biggest struggle to overcome, but it got me to where I am today and has made me more involved and more appreciative of the process!

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