22
May

Export Champions make new business connections in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

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.

11
May

New Commonwealth Business leader leads SME Export Champions delegation to Malaysia and Singapore

 

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.

3
Apr

Birmingham Briefing, 25th April 2017

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: info@commonwealthfirst.org

Agenda

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

14:00 Close

Venue
Birmingham Airport
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

 

 

 

31
Mar

March Export Champion Interview Spotlight

This month we learn about the home of ‘The World’s Original Marmalade Awards’, fibreglass composite structures, innovative fire safety solutions and hospital and healthcare medical lighting.

9
Mar

CommonwealthFirst searches for third cohort of Export Champions at Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting

Recruitment for the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions opened today as Trade Ministers from the 52 member countries meet at Lancaster House, London. The latest intake of 26 SME cohorts have been selected according to their export growth potential and will participate in a series of trade missions with the next one scheduled for Malaysia and Singapore in May 2017.

CommonwealthFirst is the brainchild of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC). Its mission is to encourage small and medium enterprises to trade and invest across the Commonwealth. The inaugural round of Export Champions attended the high profile India-UK Tech Summit, Delhi in November which coincided with Theresa May’s first overseas visit as prime minister.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), and the driving body behind CommonwealthFirst said, “The Indian trade mission was a major success. It provided some of the UKs finest small firms with fantastic exposure in one of the world’s fastest growing economies. We are keen to build on this and today’s event provides the ideal setting to further showcase the importance of SMEs as stimulators of sustainable economic growth. 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.”

The Trade Ministers Meeting plans to discuss areas where the Commonwealth can strengthen trade and investment links between member countries and develop a coherent policy agenda ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The Meeting has a particular focus on exploiting the ‘Commonwealth Factor’ whereby average trading costs are estimated to be 19% lower between Commonwealth countries as a result of commonalities around language, cultural ties, shared values and similar legal, institutional and regulatory systems.

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.

16
Feb

January Export Champion Interview Spotlight

Each month we will be showcasing Export Champions as part of the CommonwealthFirst Export Champion interview series. The collection of interviews over the coming months will allow you to get to know our Export Champions better, gain some insight to the challenges faced by UK SMEs, as well as the sharing of valuable business start-up advice.

For the month of January we hope you enjoy reading interviews from Knowledge Management & Transfer, Avon Barrier, Aduna and Hive Education.

31
Oct

CommonwealthFirst starts search for second cohort of UK Export Champions

Recruitment for the second cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions opened on Monday 24th October.

After significant success with its inaugural group of UK SMEs, the CommonwealthFirst initiative has opened applications for a second round of companies to join its ranks. CommonwealthFirst is the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council’s flagship programme to support outstanding UK SMEs with serious ambitions and strong potential to trade and invest in Commonwealth markets, to realise such plans.

Building on the success of the first round, twenty-five additional SMEs will be selected to become Commonwealth Export Champions according to their innovative and flexible approach, potential for overseas growth and export-readiness.

The first cohort will be embarking on a trade mission to India to coincide with the UK India Technology summit 7th-9th November, which will be attended by UK Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Theresa May. Those additional UK companies chosen to comprise the second cohort will have the opportunity to participate in a second trade mission destined for Malaysia and Singapore in spring 2017.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council (CWEIC), the driving body behind CommonwealthFirst, said “At a time when UK trade is under the spotlight, it is very encouraging to see such high-quality export-ready small businesses coming forward to take part in this ambitious programme”.

Lord Marland further commented that “As well as organised trade missions, networking events, mentoring and advisory expertise, CommonwealthFirst brings together a wealth of organisations keen to make the programme a success”

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via: www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 4th December and the second cohort will be announced in January 2017.

7
Jul

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:

8DIX
Aduna
Advetec
Avon Barrier Corporation Ltd
Babylon Health
Dalemain Marmalade
Everledger
Extreme Low Energy
Fever-Tree
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
what3words

Click here to meet the first cohort.

Applications for the second cohort of companies are now open at www.commonwealthfirst.org

26
May

The Commonwealth: a ready export market

This unique club of 53 countries offers trading opportunities to SMEs – but the UK’s poor export performance to date highlights that support is needed

SMEs drive entrepreneurialism, promote competition and innovation, and are in many ways the backbone of the UK economy. But, when it comes to the export market, they are collectively failing to maximise their potential with respect to exporting abroad. The UK performs poorly when it comes to SME-generated exports compared to exporting countries of comparable size. And it is estimated that anywhere between 25,000 and 150,000 currently non-exporting firms in the UK could, and should, be doing so. Read more

16
May

Invitation to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions

One hundred outstanding UK SMEs will be selected over three years to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions.

• Do you want access to 1/3 of the world’s population?

• Is your business growing fast with high export potential?

• Do you have ambitious plans to grow internationally?

• Do you have what it takes to become a Commonwealth Export Champion?

Read more