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.
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:
Donald Russell Limited
Dura Composites Ltd
Early Bird Ventures Ltd
Extremis Technology Ltd
Giving Tree Ventures Ltd
Goodness Gracious Foods Ltd
Joe and Seph’s
John Reid & Sons
Principle Healthcare International
Redstor Holdings Limited
The Coconut Company
Universal Smart Cards
Winch Energy Limited
Wire Belt Company
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
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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
Photos from the first day of the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting which took place at Lancaster House, London on 9th March 2017
The inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting took place at Lancaster House in London on 9-10 March 2017 in advance of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK. The objective was to reaffirm the commitment of Commonwealth member countries to a “transparent free and fair multilateral trading system,” and to define an ambitious Commonwealth led “Agenda for Growth” to promote trade, investment and job creation in member countries. This will support the target of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to US$1 trillion by 2020.
The recommendation to hold the Meeting was an outcome of the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015. All countries are currently seeking to establish new trading relationships at a time of stagnating global trade. With a population of 2.3 billion, a combined economy of more than US$10 trillion and annual GDP growth in excess of 4%, the Commonwealth provides a perfect platform for achieving these aims. At present there is no inter-governmental coordination to help unlock the trade and investment potential of the Commonwealth – something that the meeting of Ministers seeks to address.
The Ministers Meeting discussed areas where the Commonwealth can work together to strengthen trade and investment links between member countries and develop a policy agenda ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Meeting had a particular focus on exploring the Commonwealth Factor – understanding how the shared values of the Commonwealth as well as language, institutions, similar legal and regulatory systems, etc. make average trade costs 19% lower between Commonwealth countries and how countries can better exploit this advantage to deliver sustainable trade and development.
The Second Cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions has been officially launched at a Roundtable and Reception hosted by the Indian High Commission on February 8th. The Roundtable was addressed by the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to the UK, H.E. Mr. Dinesh K. Patnaik and Manoj Ladwa – a member of CWEICs Advisory Board who led the first CommonwealthFirst trade mission to India in November last year. CWEIC Chairman Lord Marland later addressed the Reception, highlighting the importance of SMEs being willing to trade overseas.
Export Champions from Cohort One related their experience of the programme’s first trade mission to India, describing the challenges and huge opportunities they had found doing business there. Representatives Thompson from education consultancy Hi-impact and operational performance consultancy KM&T described how the mission had opened up an array of new contacts and they were hoping to see new business wins soon.
Following an online application process, the Second Cohort of 26 companies have been selected based on their level of impact, innovation, ambition and ability to succeed across Commonwealth markets. 100 Export Champions will be selected in total over the next two and a half years.
This cohort’s companies range from designers of aircraft covers and manufacturers of innovative roadside wind turbines to companies able to treble crop yields and convert sports stadiums in to multi-purpose arenas. They are a true testament to the diversity and strength of British business.
CommonwealthFirst is delighted to be working with Second Cohort with preparations under way for the programme’s second trade mission to Malaysia and Singapore.
CommonwealthFirst is delighted to announce that the second cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions has now been selected. Representing various regions of the UK and business sectors our new Export Champions underline the depth of innovation and quality that the UK SME sector has to offer the world. Cohort products and services include; aircraft protection covers, turbines that capture air movement into automotive energy, online services for mental health, automated drone servicing platforms, as well as hydroponics and three dimensional crop production.
Along with our first cohort new Export Champions will benefit from access to high-level networking and introductions, training, mentoring and tailored trade missions – with Malaysia and Nigeria in the pipeline to be confirmed later this year.
Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, said ‘This programme is a wonderful way of demonstrating both the ingenuity of British businesses and the huge opportunities in Commonwealth markets. We hope these companies will serve as ambassadors for other UK businesses looking to trade internationally.”
The second cohort selected is:
Air Covers Ltd
Brandon Medical Co Ltd
Breaking Free Online Limited
Crop Intellect Ltd
Gaist Solutions Limited
Hopkins Catering Equipment Ltd
James White Drinks Ltd
Phoenix Dynamics Ltd
Playdale Playgrounds Ltd
The businesses are selected based on their ambition, their innovation and the impact that they will have across Commonwealth markets.
Applications for the third cohort of UK SMEs will open in spring, however, we are accepting on-going applications: www.commonwealthfirst.org
The inaugural CommonwealthFirst trade mission saw a delegation of twelve outstanding UK SMEs travel to Delhi for the India-UK Tech Summit on 7-9 November. The Summit was attended by both the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
The CommonwealthFirstdelegation was led by Manoj Ladwa, Member of the Advisory Board, and accompanied by CommonwealthFirst mentors including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry, De La Rue, JCB and Taylor Rubber, who were on hand to provide guidance and encouragement for the companies seeking to enter the enormous Indian market.
As well as attending the summit, the CommonwealthFirst delegation attended events hosted by the British High Commission, British Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the India Observer Research Foundation.
The continued success of the CommonwealthFirst UK programme has provided us with a fantastic platform from which to consider establishing similar schemes in other Commonwealth countries. At the moment we are actively investigating establishing CommonwealthFirst programmes in both India and Nigeria.
As part of the feasibility study phase Programme Director John Pemberton-Piggott hosted two roundtables to examine the merits of the proposed expansion of the programme.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who took part, and in particular, the State Government of Lagos and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) who hosted the Nigerian and Indian roundtable respectively.