technology | CommonwealthFirst | World Champion in SME Support

technology

27
Nov

Paul May, Universal Smart Cards, Export Champion Interview

Paul May, Commercial Director, Universal Smart Cards

Paul May, Commercial Director, Universal Smart Cards

What future trends are you seeing within your industry?
I see a growing market for RFID products as payment is disrupted by new fintechs.  And I see ‘pull through’ from smart phone based apps which need a ‘lowest common denominator’ token = the smart card, smart device.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Universal Smart Cards was founded by the 2 owners 16 years ago to provide an independent flexible customer service orientated smart card business as an alternative to the monolithic global corporate entities.

What makes your business unique?
Our breadth of portfolio, our superb supply chain/partner network, our customer service and our independence set us apart.

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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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2
Nov

Chris Garner, Versapak, Export Champion Interview

chris garner

Chris Garner, Sales and Marketing Director

What trends in your industry have you seen over recent years?
The trend for reusable packaging is growing. The problems of throw-away packaging are growing. Firstly in the up front purchase costs, but secondly in the additional costs in ordering, storing and then disposing of the throw away envelopes etc. Additionally, many corporations are moving to Versapak as part of their corporate environment and sustainability strategy.

How did the idea for your business come about?
Versapak began by supplying the Royal Mail with mailing bags in 1973. Indeed many companies may still have at their offices two small bags for first and second class mail at their premises. As the concept of a durable, reusable, secure bag grew the applications extended to; cash handling (think of how retailers move coins and notes from the cash till to the finance department) and medical (Versapak bags are used to secure; blood, vaccines, pathology samples etc. etc.).

In the 1980’s Versapak moved into the manufacture and supply of sports doping test equipment and have supplied many major sporting events including the Commonwealth games.

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25
Oct

Morten Hagen, SAM Labs, Export Champion Interview

Morten Hagen

Morten Hagen, Head of Strategic Partnerships

How did the idea for your business come about?
SAM Labs was started with the intention of inspiring and empowering children to be prepared for a rapidly changing world by making technology skills accessible and engaging for all.

How do your products integrate/compliment with existing STEM toys like LEGO?
SAM is designed to work with other STEM products and seamlessly integrates with LEGO. The kits come with lego connectors that allow you to bring alive your LEGO creations.

What is your most popular product and why do you think that is?
Our most popular product is the Curious kit. This is because of the great proposition, gamified app that takes you through building awesome cars, and the book of crazy cool ideas that shows you how you can unleash your imagination with SAM!

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
All of the typical difficulties that a startup faces! There are tremendous benefits of being in London, with everything from access to talent, governmental support from both the national and city levels, to financing options, being world class. But even with all of these things stacked in your favour, there are countless challenges to be faced every day. When developing a highly innovative product, there are technical challenges involved with developing and producing your offering. We have also had to build understanding and acceptance in the marketplace, which takes time. Lastly, navigating legal and structural challenges is always quite daunting, especially when exporting.

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17
Oct

Chris Sigley, Redstor Holdings, Export Champion Interview

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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.

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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.

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4
May

April Export Champion Interview Spotlight

In this monthly round up of Export Champion interviews we learn about the value of drones and better learning experiences.

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.

28
Feb

February Export Champion Interview Spotlight

This month we learn about lasers, digital health, organic waste technology and smart technology to reduce energy consumption with Quantum Laser, Advetec International, Babylon Health and Extreme Low Energy.

4
Nov

CommonwealthFirst Export Champions explore Indian market

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

The inaugural CommonwealthFirst trade mission will see a delegation of twelve outstanding UK SMEs travel to Delhi for the India-UK Tech Summit on 7-9 November.

The India-UK Tech Summit will be attended by UK Prime Minister Theresa May on her first bilateral visit since her appointment in July 2016.

The delegation will be led by Manoj Ladwa, Member of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council Advisory Board, who said “the India-UK Tech Summit will be a fantastic opportunity for these fast growing UK SMEs – many of whom are exploring the Indian market for the first time.”

The first cohort of Commonwealth Export Champions was selected in July 2016 and represent the best of what British business has to sell to the world. Companies are drawn from the manufacturing, healthcare, education, technology, food & beverage and fashion industries.

The Export Champions will be accompanied by CommonwealthFirst mentors including representatives of the Confederation of Indian Industry, De La Rue, JCB, Taylor Rubber and Clarks Legal to provide guidance for entering the enormous Indian market.

During the mission, interactions are being hosted by the British High Commission, British Council, Confederation of Indian Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the India Observer Research Foundation.

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