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CommonwealthFirst is CWEIC's flagship initiative to help SME’s trade and invest across the Commonwealth.

Over three years, 100 leading UK SMEs have been selected to become CommonwealthFirst Export Champions. Export Champions are provided with unique access and support in their quest to win new business in the fast growing Commonwealth markets. Their success will be showcased as an encouragement to the wider UK business community.

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Dalemain Marmalade

The beautiful Dalemain Georgian country estate in Cumbria is now nothing less than the ‘Home of Marmalade’ thanks to Jane Hasell-McCosh – founder of the World’s Original Marmalade Festival and Awards. Now in its twelfth year the Awards attract thousands of entries from around the world in both their homemade and artisan producer categories. High profile champions of the Festival include HRH The Prince of Wales and Paddington Bear.

Dalemain’s own preserves are inspired by the history and heritage of the estate, using recipes from their archives which each hold a unique story. One such outstanding recipe is The Bishop’s Marmalade, which dates back to a preserve made in the 1660’s by Elizabeth Rainbow for her husband, the Bishop of Carlisle. It is because of these finely honed traditions that Dalemain’s products are prized and sold in prestigious stores such as Fortnum & Mason and Fenwick’s.

Owing in part to the inspiring success of the World Festival, the inaugural Australian Festival of Marmalade is now due to be held at Beaumont House in Adelaide on 20th November 2016 in partnership with the South Australian National Trust. The Dalemain World Festival’s founder, Jane Hasell-McCosh sees this as an extremely exciting opportunity to establish a global brand.

CommonwealthFirst will work with Dalemain to help make this happen so that the company can take their full Heritage Marmalade range across the Commonwealth.

Interview | Jane Hasell-McCosh

Jane Hasell-McCosh

How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
It was recommended to us by a friend – we thought it was a fantastic opportunity to share our love for Artisan marmalade, expanding both the Dalemain marmalade range and the Marmalade Festival, for which we are famous, into greater numbers of Commonwealth countries.

How did the idea for your business come about?
I made marmalade with my mother as a child, and have been a staunch defender of quality homemade marmalade ever since! The Dalemain range was inspired by my home, and the number of marmalade recipes in the archives dating back through the centuries. The current range are marmalades inspired by the house, the garden and my family.

What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
Finding the time! Dalemain is open as an historic house, and we are always busy with events, not least the Marmalade Awards and Festival, so it was daunting to create another project on top of this – but great fun.

What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Getting samples to potential retailers. As we are a small company, it can be challenging to make connections with retailers so far away, especially when you are trying to sell a physical object that is not easily or cheaply transported.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
We have sold our products in key retailers around the UK, such as Fortnum & Mason and Fenwicks in Newcastle. This is crucial for establishing our brand more firmly, helping to raise our profile and reputation.

What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
Advice and expertise about how best to expand our product market internationally, without compromising the brand.

What is a typical working day for you?
Full of marmalade! As well as maintaining a high quality visitor experience to Dalemain, I am also busy promoting marmalade sales both in the UK and abroad, and organising the Marmalade Awards & Festival.

Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
We would love to be selling Dalemain Marmalade in quality retailers across Australia, India and hopefully many more countries, as well as expanding the sister Festival in Australia, and launching other Marmalade Festivals in Commonwealth countries.

What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Be absolutely clear on what your vision is and what you are hoping to achieve. You must truly believe in what you are promoting and be willing to work hard for it.