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.
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.