Increasing British Exports Globally

fob2016-coverThe Telegraph Festival of Business 2016 (Telegraph FOB2016) held on Tuesday November 8, 2016 at The Brewery, London. The Headline Topic was “Navigating Business through Brexit“.

The line-up of experts discussed the sizeable changes facing UK businesses following the vote to leave the European Union on 23 June. Headline speakers come from across the FTSE 100, FTSE 250 and beyond, including veteran retailer Allan Leighton, the Chairman of the Co-operative Group, through to Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive of BT. This was a Day event with lots to cover including Panel debates and Breakout sessions on topics affecting UK Business. Hence it was necessary to pick out the salient topic in the Export category.

Export panel topic “Increasing British Exports Globally¬†” with Rebecca Burn-Callander (RBC) as moderator. Panelists were;
Gayle Mann – Entrepreneurial Spark (GM)
Martin Gardner – Amazon UK support (MG)
Dr Adam Marshall – DG, British Chambers of Commerce (AM)
Al Shariat -Director, The Coconut Merchant (AS)

fob2016-side2Points noted:
1. Business focus should be on new markets and the artificial boundary between domestic and international markets needs to be redrawn (AM).
2. The customer is already global and business can outsource to providers e.g. Amazon provides automated compliance tool on Amazon market for eCommerce (MG).
3. Amazon have expertise in China & India and the advise was to engage with local social media to develop business. India has 250m on Mobile now projected to 600m within 2-3 years. But don’t let the numbers fool you. What about buying power? (MG)
4. Impact of (imported) raw material affects profits because of US dollar rate and this somewhat offsets the advantage of devalue in £Sterling. needs look at hedging currency (AM).
5. Business need to live with the current uncertainty of Brexit (RBC).
6. Startup companies have found Going global to be a good marketplace for entrepreneurs, although there are challenges (GM).
7. Go through process and find your product niche (MG).
8. Example of export niche given e.g. goat milk export to Arctic Circle and “high quality” sand to Middle East (AM).
9. Startups have issues with high cost of patents and protecting IP which dissuades them from new export markets.  Important to consider also VAT issues as an export consideration (GM).
10. Advise given for micro-business was to take travel insurance, join Trade Missions and use Embassy abroad for advice (AM).
11. Using different supplier (markets) countries to ensure ethical sourcing with an Environmental policy in place. Product diversification was underway to avoid sole reliance on coconut based products (AS).

Afterwards, there were other Panel sessions on Brexit and “How to increase British exports post-Brexit” The focus was on how businesses can grow internationally as they increasingly turn to markets further afield than Europe.
fob2016-awardSalient points:
Cath Kidston boss Kenny Wilson says Government must keep ‘Brand Britain’ strong to help businesses succeed post-Brexit
Co-operative Group chairman Allan Leighton said Brexit will refresh the way we think and operate in business, and the saga over the vote to leave the European Union should teach British businesses how not to communicate.

The FOB2016 ended with the winner of The Telegraph Festival of Business SME Award 2016 presented to @Little_Dish.