The fireworks might be over, but many businesses in London and beyond hope the Olympic effect is just beginning. With the world’s eyes on the UK, the Games were a unique opportunity to showcase Britain on a global scale.
StartUp Britain wanted to encourage smaller businesses to think big at their event TradeUp Britain. This exciting event aimed to answer the question “Why go global?” and provide inspiration and advice. With a strong lineup of speakers and an enthusiastic audience, there were plenty of answers to this question.
Deputy Mayor (and successful entrepreneur) Kit Malthouse kicked off the event at City Hall. He spoke about the opportunities presented by the Olympics. Small businesses play a huge part in the UK economy, and it’s now easier than ever for many of them to export abroad.
Lingo24’s Mario de Bortoli-Jones took to the stage to explore the importance of language and culture when trading abroad. He said: “If you’re a small business, the great opportunity is the internet, but only 27 per cent of users speak English. In order to access the rest, you need to communicate with them in their own language.”
He had a wealth of advice for businesses thinking of exploring new markets – from choosing the right brand name (Krap chocolate anyone?) to gaining top rankings in international search engines. Do watch his full presentation (and all the others!) here.
Other talks included Gabriela Castro-Fontura of Sunny Sky Solutions, who advised entrepreneurs to consider exporting to the vast Latin American market. With 20 countries and a population of 600 million people, there’s no doubt it could provide great opportunities. Yet the UK exports around three times more to the Republic of Ireland than the whole of Latin America.
A panel discussion included three entrepreneurs sharing their stories about taking their businesses global. Gareth Austin-Jones, commercial director of Concorose London, originally helped run the boutique shoe business part-time from home. They now export to most of Europe, Asia, the USA, New Zealand and Australia. Their shoes even found their way into the Bafta goodie bags!
Adam Hildreth, founder of Crisp Thinking, and Matt McNeill, founder of Sign-Up.to, also shared their thoughts on the challenges of running businesses across borders. They spoke about why going global had been the right choice for their companies.