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15 May, 2019 - 13:35 By Kate Sweeney

Government unveils East of England export champions

Chief executives, managers and directors from a group of East of England exporting businesses were recognised as Export Champions by the Department for International Trade at an event held at the Moller Centre in Cambridge recently.

The 25 Export Champions were chosen for their inspirational approach to growing their businesses through exporting or for championing exporting in the East of England. 

Champions will encourage companies in their region to start exporting, offer practical advice on how to turn exporting ambitions into reality and share their experiences of how DIT helped them break into new markets. 

The East of England based Export Champions include Julie Deane from The Cambridge Satchel Company; 47 per cent of the company’s current turnover comes from exports to over 120 countries worldwide, including key markets such as the United States and China.

Other champions include Sue Jones from Hertfordshire-based Absolute Skincare. The business supplies some of the world’s most luxurious spas, and Dave Shanks from Water to Go in Bedfordshire, whose nano-tech filter water bottles convert any non-salt water source into instantly drinkable water.

The announcement came as worldwide demand for British goods continues to grow. HMRC figures show that exports from the East of England generated more than £28 billion of income for the UK in 2018, highlighting the opportunity for British businesses to gain greater access to some of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world.

Trade Policy Minister, George Hollingbery visited Cambridge to announce the new export champions and to discuss opportunities for businesses to increase their exports. 

As part of the Government’s independent trade policy, there will be new opportunities for British businesses to gain greater access to some of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world. 

To create these opportunities, the Government is currently preparing to enter into negotiations on future trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand and potentially joining the Trans-Pacific partnership. 

Last year alone, exports to the United States from the East of England were worth £3.84 billion, highlighting the potential opportunities available for the region’s businesses to make the most of rapidly growing demand for British products.

Exports to Trans Pacific Partnership countries increased by 6.7 per cent in 2017, with exports from East Anglia to Vietnam growing by 46 per cent and exports to Japan growing by 20 per cent.

George Hollingbery said: “Through the Export Champions programme we will continue to work with local businesses to provide expert support and advice, helping business in the East of England take advantage of the largest and fastest growing global markets, where there is high demand for quality British goods.

“British businesses and exporters will play a major role in helping to forge stronger trading relationships as we leave the European Union and take control of our independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years.”

There are now 250 Export Champions active across England and the DIT’s ambition is to expand the programme to at least 1,000 by April 2020. 

Thinley Topden, DIT’s head of region in the East of England, said: “Whether they’re a manager at an established business or founder at an entrepreneurial startup, our Export Champions are achieving international success worth shouting about. 

“We’ve chosen these individuals as we know that their experiences make them the best candidates to encourage and guide other local businesses on their exporting journey.”

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