• Tony Goodman

A Commonwealth of Opportunity

This week the Heads of Government of 53 countries representing 2.4 billion people, approximately 30% of the global population, are meeting in London. This follows on from the wonderful Games in Australia and continues to highlight the shared interests and values of the Commonwealth family of nations.

With 60% of the population of Commonwealth countries being under the age of 30, this represents an exciting opportunity to engage with some of the fastest growing economies in the world that are expected to have a total GDP of more than 13 Trillion US$ in 2020. That opportunity is heightened by the size of the under 30 population, with more openness to the outside world and the goods and services it has to offer.

The biggest question has to be: - who can benefit?

The simple answer is: any company that wants to. However, the answer should be any company that has products that would be of interest in any Commonwealth country, or indeed in any export market.

What is holding companies back? Is it a belief that exporting is too difficult; not for them? Or is it simply that they don’t know where to start? Whatever the reason it is in the national interest and very much in those companies’ interest to find the path to exporting. The Commonwealth gives the opportunity to open a new door on a vastly bigger market that can be attained in just the UK.

If you just look at opportunities in the Food and Drink industry: there are so many great small businesses that need to lift their eyes to the horizon and see the possibilities. There is a frequent misunderstanding that exporting is only for larger companies. Of course, it is the case that larger companies will set up separate departments to handle their overseas business. They will go on trade missions, open offices around the world and quite often develop local businesses. They will have sales people travelling to target markets and devote large budgets to do so.

These are not options open to small companies, but nor are they the only way to access the opportunities that exist. There is an entrepreneurial route to exporting that is accessible to those prepared to try. There Is an abundance of help available to help take those first steps, much of it is free. The Department for International Trade have an outreach programme with Trade Advisors across the country. They also have a website with a plethora of information available. There are other local organisations and trade bodies set up to help.

And there is a vast online community of fellow travellers only too willing to help newbies take those first steps. There will be much reported in the next few days about Government initiatives to ease the path of trading with Commonwealth countries.

All that is left is for you to take the first steps!


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