Commonwealth | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Commonwealth

27
Nov

Only One Week to Go! Commonwealth Export Champion Application Deadline Closes Monday 4th December

CWF-SME-Cohort

Over three years, 100 leading UK SMEs will be selected to become Commonwealth Export Champions. Export Champions will be provided with unique access and support in their quest to win new business in the fast growing Commonwealth markets. Their success will be showcased as an encouragement to the wider UK business community.

Tags: CommonwealthFirst, Export Champion, UK SME, SMEs, UK, Trade, Export, Commonwealth, Business, Fourth Cohort, Application Deadline, Royal Mail, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, CWEIC, i-genius, CWF, Export Champions, Commonwealth Export Champion Application

27
Nov

Paul May, Universal Smart Cards, Export Champion Interview

Paul May, Commercial Director, Universal Smart Cards

Paul May, Commercial Director, Universal Smart Cards

What future trends are you seeing within your industry?
I see a growing market for RFID products as payment is disrupted by new fintechs.  And I see ‘pull through’ from smart phone based apps which need a ‘lowest common denominator’ token = the smart card, smart device.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Universal Smart Cards was founded by the 2 owners 16 years ago to provide an independent flexible customer service orientated smart card business as an alternative to the monolithic global corporate entities.

What makes your business unique?
Our breadth of portfolio, our superb supply chain/partner network, our customer service and our independence set us apart.

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21
Nov

Paul Rose, YouTeachMe, Export Champion Interview

Paul Rose YouTeachMe

Paul Rose, Managing Director, YouTeachMe

How did the idea for your business come about?
Between 2009 and 2013 I was the Headteacher of a school in difficulty. I wanted to help the teaching team to rapidly improve and looked to technology to support them. No such technology existed. Having succeeded in moving the school to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, I quit my job, took the knowledge I had gained and began working on the development of a technology with the capability to transform all schools; YouTeachMe.

What is the USP of YouTeachMe?
Only school staff can solve the challenges facing the education system. Everything we do is designed to help them improve their own work and in doing so, enable others to improve too.

Who can use YouTeachMe?
Any school. We are working with all school types; Early Years, Infant, Junior, Primary, Secondary, Special and Alternative Provision. Wherever learning and teaching is taking place, YouTeachMe will add value to it.

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13
Nov

Toronto Global Forum Short Video Interviews

A selection of short video interviews conducted at the Toronto Global Forum, during our recent third Commonwealth Trade Mission to Canada.

andrew

perez

jeremy

leanne

john

9
Nov

Nicholas Wrigley, Winch Energy, Export Champion Interview

Nick Wrigley Profile

Nicholas Wrigley, CEO

What makes your renewable energy products unique?
There is nothing unique about the technology we use – the technology is top tier, standard tried and tested. What makes our solution unique is that we are continuously perfecting the design to respond to the customer and environment whilst innovating our business models.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Winch was founded in 2006 and originally focused on standard on-grid solar projects in Europe. In 2014, Winch wanted to expand into a new market and began its due diligence in Africa. When analysing the African market, it was clear that the grid was unstable, intermittent and overloaded and it would be unattainable and unaffordable to extend the grid to the majority of the population who were currently living without access to electricity. This is where Winch saw a great opportunity and new business market in off-grid energy.

How do you ensure the maintenance of your products are kept?
In country training is key to what we do. Winch establish an O & M team and customer service center in each country we operate in. Each unit has a full-time agent assigned to it to ensure routine cleaning of the modules and monitoring of the system. Furthermore, we can monitor our units from our London office with our integrated remote monitoring and performance system.

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8
Nov

Export Champions create new route to market in Toronto, Canada

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Canada open for Commonwealth Business

CommonwealthFirst has recently returned from taking a delegation of our Export Champions led by Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council Chairman Lord Marland and the Chief Executive of Royal Mail Group, Moya Greene, to participate at the 11th Toronto Global Forum (TGF) in Canada. The TGF is a major annual business event organised by the International Economic Forum of the Americas.

CommonwealthFirst were invited to participate in the TGF that carried the theme of “Redefining Globalisation” during a year when both Canada and Ottawa are celebrating their 150th anniversary and the new Canada-EU Free Trade Agreement came into force.

Lord Marland said “I was incredibly impressed by the rapid development of Toronto in recent years. Toronto is on track to become one of the world’s leading commercial centres with a fantastic infrastructure to support innovation. Canada could play a leading role in supporting a greater focus on trade and investment within the Commonwealth.”

The intensive trade mission to Toronto included briefings with Councillor Michael Thompson from the City of Toronto, The Honourable Michael Chan, Minister for International Trade Ontario and host of Canadian leaders, trade organisations, accelerators and research institutions. The programme even included a Beethoven Concert by the world leading Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Roy Thomson Hall.

In addition to helping our Export Champions to do business in Canada this was an opportunity for CommonwealthFirst to strengthen its ties with the Canadian, Ontario and Toronto Governments, and raise the profile of the Commonwealth amongst the Canadian business community.

The visit to Toronto, Canada was the third SME trade mission and follows successful visits to Malaysia/Singapore and the 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 fourth cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions through the website: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on Monday 4th December.

25
Oct

Morten Hagen, SAM Labs, Export Champion Interview

Morten Hagen

Morten Hagen, Head of Strategic Partnerships

How did the idea for your business come about?
SAM Labs was started with the intention of inspiring and empowering children to be prepared for a rapidly changing world by making technology skills accessible and engaging for all.

How do your products integrate/compliment with existing STEM toys like LEGO?
SAM is designed to work with other STEM products and seamlessly integrates with LEGO. The kits come with lego connectors that allow you to bring alive your LEGO creations.

What is your most popular product and why do you think that is?
Our most popular product is the Curious kit. This is because of the great proposition, gamified app that takes you through building awesome cars, and the book of crazy cool ideas that shows you how you can unleash your imagination with SAM!

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
All of the typical difficulties that a startup faces! There are tremendous benefits of being in London, with everything from access to talent, governmental support from both the national and city levels, to financing options, being world class. But even with all of these things stacked in your favour, there are countless challenges to be faced every day. When developing a highly innovative product, there are technical challenges involved with developing and producing your offering. We have also had to build understanding and acceptance in the marketplace, which takes time. Lastly, navigating legal and structural challenges is always quite daunting, especially when exporting.

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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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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.

22
Sep

52 Commonwealth Nations to gather in London for CHOGM to discuss Trade, Business and Investment, April 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 Commonwealth leaders for the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM); representing the interests of over 2.4 billion people. Throughout the week leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), 2,000 top leaders from business, politics, cvil society 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$13 trillion by 2020 it is estimated that the Commonwealth Advantage of shared values, regulatory systems and language, makes trade costs on average 19% lower between Commonwealth countries.

The Commonwealth Business Forum is an integral part of the CHOGM and brings together businesses critical to trade and investment with governments to debate the issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond. Organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), working with the host government of the United Kingdom, and 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 Commonwealth Business Forum is a unique platform for dialogue, bringing together business and leaders from across the Commonwealth

  • The 11th CBF and the first held in the UK in 20 years
  • Addressed by Commonwealth Heads of Government
  • Up to 800 CEOs and board members of leading global companies
  • Participation from Commonwealth trade delegations
  • 40+ sessions on key economic and business themes
  • VIP Areas, exclusive networking and bespoke events
  • Online business to business meeting booking system for CBF

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

Your Opportunity

  • Unparalleled commercial exposure through an international and high profile event and worldwide media coverage, with ongoing content and networking opportunities
  • Showcase the very best of your brand and its relevance to Commonwealth nations as this trading body gains new prominence in our changing world
  • Align with and have your say on the key objectives and values of the Commonwealth Summit
  • Engage with International trade delegations
  • Network with senior business leaders and key global consumers

To register your interest in attending please contact: cbf2018@cweic.org

For more information on the programme please contact John Pemberton-Pigott. Email: john@cweic.org

To find out more about sponsorship, speaking and partnership opportunities please contact: Carolyn Meier, DL: +44 (0) 20 7104 6189, Email: carolyn@cweic.org

For more information on the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth Summit please visit www.chogm2018.org.uk