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.
16-18 April 2018
London, United kingdom
|In April 2018, for the first time since 1997, the UK will host all 52 Commonwealth leaders for the 25th Commonwealth Summit; representing the interests of over 2.6 billion people. Throughout the Summit 10,000 top leaders from business, politics, academia and culture will come together to showcase the Commonwealth’s vibrant and diverse network. This is a truly unique and historic opportunity to promote and celebrate the very best of the Commonwealth to a global audience.With a combined GDP of US$14 trillion by 2020 it is estimated that the Commonwealth Factor, shared values, regulatory systems and language, makes trade costs on average19% lower between Commonwealth countries.
The Commonwealth Business Forum is an integral part of the Summit and brings together businesses critical to trade and investment leadership together with Government to debate the issues facing their countries in 2018 and beyond. Organised by The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, in partnership with the City of London, this top level business gathering is only accessed by special invitation and will be held across three iconic London venues: the Guildhall, Mansion House and the QEII Conference Centre.
|The Commonwealth Business Forum is a unique platform for dialogue, bringing together business and Government leaders from across the Commonwealth|
|CBF 2018 will address the key themes of|
What makes your Gin unique from everything else that is out there?
Forest Gin is the only gin in the world to have been awarded Two Separate Double-Gold Medals at the San-Francisco World Spirit Awards. We distill combinations of Organic, foraged and carefully sourced ingredients to create the spirit, before blending with fresh water from our own spring in the Peak District. These ingredients, combined with our English Porcelain bottle, really give our Gin unique qualities that we are very proud of.
Any good foraging tips that budding gin makers should be aware of?
Always get the landowners permission. Leave plenty for others. Never pick fruit below waist height (figure that one for yourselves!!)
How did the idea for your business come about?
We were home distillers. Making spirits & drinks for a bit of fun and our own enjoyment! It evolved from friends & family wanting to buy a bottle, to now being a very well respected spirits brand.
What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Licencing and red-tape. There are very strict regulations in the UK for distilling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Commonwealth Trade Initiative (CTI) online platform links buyers and sellers from across diverse Commonwealth markets. It is free to join and members can take advantage of a sophisticated business matching function which will automatically provide them with targeted business leads from across the Commonwealth based on their user profile information.
The matching algorithm is constantly at work behind the scenes to gather information to produce daily business matches. It combines big data and machine learning to automate the procurement, lead generation and networking process.
By becoming a part of the Commonwealth Business Platform users can take advantage of an intuitive and enjoyable user experience that gamifies the process of working with new businesses.
Sign up is FREE and takes less than 2 minutes: http://tradecommonwealth.com/#/register
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:
Avon Barrier Corporation Ltd
Extreme Low Energy
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
Partridges of Sloane Square Ltd
Rolatube Expeditionary Systems Ltd
Sapelle Group Limited
Click here to meet the first cohort.
Applications for the second cohort of companies are now open at www.commonwealthfirst.org
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