Confederation of Indian Industries | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Confederation of Indian Industries


CommonwealthFirst expansion explored for India and Nigeria

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.


Commonwealth announces first cohort of UK SMEs selected to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions in partnership with Royal Mail

The first cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions was announced at a breakfast today hosted at Marlborough House by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council in conjunction with the Confederation of Indian Industries’ annual CEOs delegation to London. The breakfast was addressed by the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Dr Naushad Forbes, President of the Confederation of Indian Industry and Deodat Maharaj, Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The Export Champions have been selected based on their level of impact, innovation, ambition and ability to succeed across Commonwealth markets following an online application process. One hundred Export Champions will be selected over the next three years.

The companies range from sole traders to fast-growing members of the London Stock Exchange and from start-ups to Royal Warrant holders – picked from all regions of the UK and various business sectors including technology, manufacturing, fashion and food. The cohort represents the full range of ingenuity and quality that the UK has to offer the world.

The cohort includes names such as Fever-Tree, pioneers of the premium mixer category that has quickly become the established mixer for high-end hostelries, and Partridges of Sloane Square, a luxury delicatessen and H.M The Queen’s grocer, alongside innovative business-model challengers such as Rolatube Expeditionary Systems, which creates innovative fibreglass composite structures for communications and sensor systems that can be used under extreme circumstances such as humanitarian disasters, Extreme Low Energy, a specialist supplier of low-energy, sustainable ICT infrastructure and what3words with an ingenious new way to communicate location using just three words.

By showcasing the success of the Commonwealth Export Champions, the programme will highlight the trade and investment opportunities for UK businesses across the Commonwealth – a free association of 53 countries, representing one third of the world’s population and fast growing markets including India, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria and South Africa.

Oliver Everett, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council said “We are delighted to welcome our first cohort of Export Champions. The quality of applications has been extremely high and it has been exciting and encouraging to see the scope of interest from UK SMEs in potential business opportunities across the Commonwealth.”

Hugo Swire said “the Commonwealth has always been an important market for the UK so I welcome this initiative which will help to build even stronger trade links between the UK and the family of Commonwealth nations. Britain is – and always will be – open for business and we want the strongest possible economic links with our close friends in the Commonwealth and other important partners around the world.”

Nick Landon, Managing Director, Royal Mail Parcels said “Royal Mail is proud to support the CommonwealthFirst initiative and encouraged to see the large number of applications to become Commonwealth Export Champions. Ambition and innovation amongst UK SMEs is alive and well.”

Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General of the Confederation of Indian Industry said “We look forward to hosting a delegation of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champions in India later in the year as part of the India-UK Technology Summit. There is a huge opportunity for great UK SMEs in India and we look forward to helping make business happen.”

The first companies selected are:

Avon Barrier Corporation Ltd
Babylon Health
Dalemain Marmalade
Extreme Low Energy
FGV Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd
Firescape Global Ltd
Glass Tech Recycling Ltd
hi-impact Consultancy Ltd
Hive Education Ltd
iGene London Ltd
Kano Computing Ltd
Knowledge Management & Transfer (KM&T) Ltd
Laser Quantum Ltd
Medical Devices Technology International Ltd (MDTi)
NMS International Group Limited
Open Data Institute
Oxley Developments
Partridges of Sloane Square Ltd
Rolatube Expeditionary Systems Ltd
Sapelle Group Limited
ThinkingSafe Limited

Click here to meet the first cohort.

Applications for the second cohort of companies are now open at