Export Champion Interview

17
Oct

Chris Sigley, Redstor Holdings, Export Champion Interview

022

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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!

Read more

18
Sep

Karl Bond, Forest Gin, Export Champion Interview

Karl Bond, Director

What makes your Gin unique from everything else that is out there?
Forest Gin is the only gin in the world to have been awarded Two Separate Double-Gold Medals at the San-Francisco World Spirit Awards. We distill combinations of Organic, foraged and carefully sourced ingredients to create the spirit, before blending with fresh water from our own spring in the Peak District. These ingredients, combined with our English Porcelain bottle, really give our Gin unique qualities that we are very proud of.

Any good foraging tips that budding gin makers should be aware of?
Always get the landowners permission. Leave plenty for others. Never pick fruit below waist height (figure that one for yourselves!!)

How did the idea for your business come about?
We were home distillers. Making spirits & drinks for a bit of fun and our own enjoyment! It evolved from friends & family wanting to buy a bottle, to now being a very well respected spirits brand.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Licencing and red-tape. There are very strict regulations in the UK for distilling.

Read more

11
Sep

Mohammed Saleem Latif, ePortfolios Ltd, Export Champion Interview

Mohammed Saleem Latif

Mohammed Saleem Latif, Managing Director

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
I was looking to expand the business by incorporating teaching standards from countries apart from the UK when I came across the Commonwealth Standards Framework for Teachers & School Leaders. This led me to the CWIEC website which, in turn, took me to the Commonwealth First Export programme.

As I had an innovative solution that could potentially help 52 countries document and evidence their professional teaching standards on one platform, I had nothing to lose and very much to gain by becoming involved with Commonwealth First.

How did the idea for your business come about?
During teacher training we were required to submit an ePortfolio of evidence so that our School Mentor could assess our teaching performance and our University Tutor could judge whether to grant a teaching qualification. This was such a laborious process for all concerned that I decided to develop the online ePortfolio based on my own experience.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Converting the ePortfolio idea into a working solution was the greatest challenge. Having achieved this, the next challenging task was finding, connecting with and convincing key decision makers in universities and government to adopt the solution.

Read more