Polegate MP Maria Caulfield has welcomed the launch of the first phase of recruitment for CommonwealthFirst.
The scheme will initially select 100 leading export-ready UK SMEs over three years to become Commonwealth Export Champions. By providing intensive training and mentoring support CommonwealthFirst will help kick-start their international trade and investment journey and leverage their Commonwealth network.
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.
The programme is led by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council with the support of Royal Mail and i-genius. It was officially announced at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in November 2015 by the then UK Trade Minister Lord Maude and Lord Marland, Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.
It is expected that the CommonwealthFirst model will be replicated in countries across the Commonwealth, helping SMEs fulfil their full potential. The CommonwealthFirst programme will also be supported by a global e-commerce platform powered by Royal Mail.
Speaking after the launch, Maria said, “Sussex is very fortunate to have some fantastic businesses within it, and I am very proud to have a large number of those within my constituency of Lewes.”
“We are very lucky in so much as some of those businesses are already exporters, however, others are ready to go, and the support being offered through CommonwealthFirst will give them a vital boost.”
“This is a fantastic opportunity for any businesses locally that feel ready to make that step into international trade, and I would urge those interested to apply.”
Companies interested in applying to become “Commonwealth Export Champions” have until 20 June to complete the online application process. The first Commonwealth Export Champions will be announced on 7 July.