Export Champion | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

Export Champion

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

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.

14
Sep

Shalom Lloyd, Naturally Tribal, Export Champion Interview

Shalom Lloyd

Shalom Lloyd, Managing Director

How did the idea for your business come about?
In 2014, I gave birth to a beautiful set of twins! One of my twins, Joshua, was covered in eczema from birth and I spent months combining lotions, creams, emollients, teas – you name it – to stop his ‘scratch until drawing blood’ dilemma. I tapped into my African heritage and started to mix raw, ingredients from Africa – the scientist in me took over, experimenting and testing. Using these natural ingredients and once I stumbled on the right formula, it miraculously only took three days for Joshua’s skin to become what it should have been at birth. Naturally Tribal Skincare was born out of this personal experience and experimenting. Through the combination of my African heritage mixed with an English twist, I solved my child’s skincare problem naturally WITHOUT CHEMICALS and felt like a ‘hero’ mum.

Today, we use Mother Nature’s gifts to create natural products, manufactured and tested in the UK with our ingredients ethically sourced, while supporting and empowering African women. We are supporting infrastructure to ensure quality and working conditions, particularly for the women of Essan, Niger State in Nigeria!

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
In April 2017, The Naturally Tribal Skincare Ltd Research & logistics Coordinator, Zantie O’Connell was sent an email from Royal Mail’s ‘Click & Drop Support’ team which was titled ‘Become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion with Royal Mail’. We have outstanding innovative products and a great story to tell plus the benefits we would gain as an SME such as mentoring, training, profiling and branding to help our company access the 52 Commonwealth countries was too good to miss. Seeing this as a programme which aligns with our vision for the company, the team agreed to move forward with our application and we are certainly glad that we did!

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7
Sep

Sarah Holmes, Merrythought, Export Champion Interview

Sarah Holmes, Director

How did the idea for your business come about?
Business already established – founded in 1930 by Great Grandfather

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Production capacity and allocation of other resources/time
Product compliance and labelling requirements
Ensuring landed price competitiveness – shipping and duty costs
Intellectual property protection

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
Invested in and improved internal systems and procedures
Improve product design and narrowed product ranges
Streamlined supply chain
Investment in PR and Social Media
Developed a corporate and bespoke service Read more

4
Sep

Ray Bird, Early Bird Ventures, Export Champion Interview

Ray Bird, Director

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
One of the biggest challenges we face dealing virtually only online is credibility. Again, dealing with customers, who maybe on the other side of the world requires a great deal of trust. A benefit of our product is that a new customer can try our product for just a few pounds. In addition, our eBay shop has helped us to gain credibility further afield as the customer is covered by the ebay guarantees. Once the customer has tried our service & wants larger quantities or a more customised shopping experience, our office & our website serves them well, at their convenience.

How did the idea for your business come about?
20 years ago I helped a manufacturer of metal Sealing washers ‘break’ into the UK market, selling virtually exclusively to the larger wholesalers . However, times have changed: garages no longer focus on single make vehicles, car manufacturers have been bought and sold and many manufacturers install other manufacturers engines. The upshot of all these factors is that garages don’t know which parts they need, don’t necessarily need a large quantity of any one part as they now repair whatever comes through the doors that day, and finally don’t know how to get the parts quickly and efficiently. This is particularly true of our export markets, where even the main dealers don’t have the essential parts. This is where we help, offering an ecommerce solution, advice, guidance and delivery worldwide.

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31
Aug

Katherine Gubbins, Goodness Gracious Foods, Export Champion Interview

Katherine Gubbins, Founder

How did the idea for your business come about?
I felt we needed to improve the way we feed our babies and children – teach them, via their parents, about good food and the benefits food brings to us. Wellbeing and health for the family is key.

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
MY ITA – we export anyway and thought this would be a great opportunity, particularly with some of the countries included.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Going up against the big customers with knowledge and vast experience of how to do it.

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29
Aug

Paul Fletcher, Dura Composites, Export Champion Interview

Paul Fletcher, Sales Manager

How did the idea for your business come about?
Dura Composites was established in 1996 when the company first began selling fibreglass grating for use as anti-slip walkways in the Marine and Industrial sectors. Over the past 20 years the product range has expanded to include Glass Reinforced Plastic Trench Covers, Profiles, Handrail, Stair Treads and the market-leading Dura Deck and Dura Cladding made from low-maintenance Composite Timber. The company’s mission is to supply pioneering composite product solutions that inspire new ideas and promote safety, durability and longevity across a range of industries. All products offer customers a low life cycle cost thanks to their long life expectancy and also low maintenance requirements.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
The use of composites versus traditional materials does require a change of mindset for some customers and posed challenges for us in the early days of our business. We have worked hard to educate potential customers as to the core benefits – for example there is a perception from some clients that GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) is not as strong as concrete, whilst in reality it offers an incredible strength to weight ratio.

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24
Aug

Julia Glenn, Extremis Technology, Export Champion Interview

Julia Glenn, CEO

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
Trusted introductions to potential licensees or end users (as demand from these will bring about a licensee) across the Commonwealth.

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
We were introduced to John Pemberton-Pigot by or NED, Roy Newey. John suggested we apply for the cohort as he was inspired by our products and business model.

How did the idea for your business come about?
The products were invented in response to seeing millions of people across the globe live for extended period in tented accommodation. Since we have started trading we have also recognised the commercial value of our products, and our licensees bring us new uses for our products on an almost weekly basis, within their territories.

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21
Aug

Paul Greenley, Dakin-Flathers, Export Champion Interview

Paul Greenley, Sales Director

Paul Greenley, Sales Director

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
From a participant of cohort 2. They were complimentary about the program and were extremely proud to have been selected to participate. Whilst we are an experienced and effective exporter, with existing business in the Commonwealth, there are areas where we could and should do better. We have some exciting new products coming on stream over the next year or so and anything we can do to accelerate our penetration of these markets would be extremely helpful.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Finding good distributors in new markets. Once identified, convincing them to turn their back on often longstanding relationships with our competitors. In some cases, having the right product for the local market. Cultural differences can also be a strong factor – understanding how to conduct business in an appropriate way.

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