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.

Along with our first and second cohort, new Export Champions will benefit from access to high-level networking events and introductions, training, mentoring and tailored trade missions – with Canada and Australia taking place this autumn and next spring respectively.

Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, said “I am delighted to see such an exciting array of applicants to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions. I look forward to meeting as many of the new Cohort as possible at our Export Day in July.”

The below businesses have been selected based on their ambition, innovation and the impact that they will have across Commonwealth markets:

BMM Weston
Donald Russell Limited
Dura Composites Ltd
Early Bird Ventures Ltd
ePortfolios Ltd
Extremis Technology Ltd
Forest Gin
Giving Tree Ventures Ltd
Goodness Gracious Foods Ltd
ICC Solutions
Joe and Seph’s
John Reid & Sons
Kniterate Ltd
Merrythought Limited
Naturally Tribal
Principle Healthcare International
Redstor Holdings Limited
SAM Labs
Talley Group
The Coconut Company
Universal Smart Cards
Winch Energy Limited
Wire Belt Company
YouTeachMe Ltd

Applications for the fourth and final cohort of UK SMEs will open in autumn/winter 2017, however, we are accepting on-going applications as of now: www.commonwealthfirst.org


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.


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.


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.


CWEIC launches the Commonwealth Trade Initiative in partnership with AMPP Group

CTI Platform

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


About AMPP | About CWEIC



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:

Avon Barrier Corporation Ltd
Babylon Health
Dalemain Marmalade
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
Oxley Developments
Partridges of Sloane Square Ltd
Rolatube Expeditionary Systems Ltd
Sapelle Group Limited
ThinkingSafe Limited

Click here to meet the first cohort.

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


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


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