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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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Sapelle Group

Sapelle was founded by Daphne Kasambala in 2012, and has evolved from a fashion retail brand into a lifestyle brand offering beautifully designed fashion, gifts and home decor for design lovers seeking high quality products. Global fusion is at the core of Sapelle’s product offering, with African design influences and craftsmanship a feature in each piece.

In 2016 Nilare, the gifts and home de?cor brand founded by Lisiane Ndong, and Toghal, the textiles and soft furnishings brand founded by Dayo Forster, joined Sapelle to create Sapelle Group Limited, an omni-channel lifestyle brand.

Sapelle operates an ecommerce site, and a showroom on the world-famous Portobello Road in London where it offers products on a retail and wholesale basis. The brand is ambitious about supporting African artisans and designers who craft products with stories. It aims to create a tangible and sustainable impact for African communities by connecting makers of beautiful products with the global marketplace.

The group also offers business consultancy services aimed at creative enterprises (particularly those involving women), offering advice, research and training in sourcing, product development and retail operations. This work gives a valuable advantage to operators in African regions where opportunity might otherwise have been scarce.

With a supply chain spanning 15 African countries and a growing global following, Sapelle are set to become ‘Commonwealth Export Champions’. CommonwealthFirst will help the company to find exciting new markets and to take the best of African fashion and lifestyle across the world.