4
Oct

Applications now open for fourth cohort of elite CommonwealthFirst SME programme

 CWF EC

100 companies to be selected in advance of Commonwealth Summit next April.

Today the CommonwealthFirst programme formally opened applications for its fourth cohort intake of UK SMEs. The programme’s mission is to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade and invest across the Commonwealth; a market comprising 52 English speaking countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion – at least 60% of whom are under the age of 30 – and a combined GDP in excess of US$10 trillion.

The Commonwealth Factor, with its shared language, complementary legal systems and business practices, helps to reduce trade costs by around 19% between member countries. By 2020 Commonwealth trade is expected to double to US$1 trillion and the CommonwealthFirst programme will be at the forefront of this new wave of Commonwealth businesses.

This prestigious programme has been developed through a partnership between the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and Royal Mail with support from i-genius as implementation partner. Export Champions are provided with unique access and support in their quest to win new business in fast growing Commonwealth markets. Their success is showcased as an encouragement to the wider UK business community.

Building on the significant success of the three current cohorts, the fourth cohort will be selected to become Commonwealth Export Champions according to their ambitions, innovative and flexible approach, potential for overseas growth and export-readiness.

Lord Marland, Chairman of the CWEIC, said “as we select the final companies to be part of the initial programme we expect standards to be higher than ever. This is the right time for UK companies to be thinking about global opportunities.”

Successful businesses will have the opportunity to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Queensland in Australia and the Commonwealth Summit in London in April 2018. There will also be a Trade Mission to Africa building on previous missions to India, Malaysia, Singapore and a visit to Canada in October. They will also receive expert mentoring as well as access to tailored training and networking events.

SMEs can apply to become a CommonwealthFirst Export Champion via www.commonwealthfirst.org. Applications close on 4th December and the fourth and final cohort of the initial 3 year pilot programme will be announced in January 2018.

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.

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29
Jun

Third Cohort of UK SMEs selected to become Export Champions

30 British businesses selected for distinguished programme

CommonwealthFirst is delighted to announce the third cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions programme. Representing various regions of the UK and business sectors, our latest batch of Export Champions applicants proved to be of the highest calibre yet and they highlight the variety of innovation and excellence that the UK SME sector has to offer the world. Applicants included off-grid renewable energy, healthy snacks, innovative antimicrobial technology, teddy bears, a digital knitting machine, as well as award winning baby and children’s food.

CommonwealthFirst, in partnership with Royal Mail and i-genius as implementation partner, was established by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to trade and invest across the Commonwealth; a market comprising 52 English speaking countries with a combined population of 2.2 billion – at least 60% of whom are under the age of 30 – and a combined GDP of approximately US$9.6 trillion.

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4
May

Britain’s Best SMEs welcomed at Birmingham Briefing

 

CommonwealthFirst organised a briefing on Tuesday 25th April hosted by Birmingham Airport and sponsored by Turkish Airlines to raise awareness of its SME export champions programme and invite further applicants from small firms, which have high growth and international trading potential. Participants included SMEs, journalists, local and regional government representatives, and HE Kena Mphonda, Malawi High Commissioner to the UK.

The regional event highlighted the many opportunities and benefits of trading within the Commonwealth as well as 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 between 14th -18th May 2017.

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.

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.”

To view photos from the briefing, click here!

Applications to become an Export Champion for the CommonwealthFirst programme close 5th June 2017. An announcement on successful applicants for the third cohort will be made in July 2017. We would welcome you extending awareness of the Export Champion to you networks. Apply now!

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

 

 

 

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.

29
Nov

CommonwealthFirst Export Champions shine in Delhi

The inaugural CommonwealthFirst trade mission saw a delegation of twelve outstanding UK SMEs travel to Delhi for the India-UK Tech Summit on 7-9 November. The Summit was attended by both the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.

The CommonwealthFirstdelegation was led by Manoj Ladwa, Member of the Advisory Board, and accompanied by CommonwealthFirst mentors including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry, De La Rue, JCB and Taylor Rubber, who were on hand to provide guidance and encouragement for the companies seeking to enter the enormous Indian market.

As well as attending the summit, the CommonwealthFirst delegation attended events hosted by the British High Commission, British Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the India Observer Research Foundation.

 

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

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?

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