With the Chamber expecting 2017 to be another record-breaking year for exporting, international trade service users, members, importers, foreign owned companies and those looking to set up in the UK, attended the Thames Valley Open for Business launch.
Opening to a packed audience at Ascot Racecourse, Paul Britton, CEO, Thames Valley Chamber welcomed the audience before commenting: “We know that companies that trade globally are more resilient and scale up faster. While we are proud that one in three Chamber members trade internationally, only 1 in 11 companies in the UK trade overseas.
“Whatever the national or local politics, our role is to help international companies to understand the merits of locating in the Thames Valley and to help local businesses to go global. Today the Chamber team and our partners, COBCOE will share how we are mobilising the global network of hundreds of thousands of member companies in over 130 countries. This is a business to business, Chamber to Chamber – channel to market for you our members and customers.”
Pushing forward the Chamber’s message of local engagement, regional representation and global opportunity Head of International Trade Anne White continued. She strategically mapped out the region’s ongoing success including being one of the ‘highest performing regions in Europe’; ‘home to 11 of the world’s top 15 tech companies’ and being within the ‘top five for economic potential, cost effectiveness, quality of life, infrastructure and business friendliness’.
Strong statistics shared with the audience included how the Thames Valley is the ‘leading exporting region valued at a staggering £42bn’ showing that it truly is the powerhouse of the UK.
The importance and ongoing benefits of the new global membership package was highlighted to attendees explaining not only why it was developed but also how it will continually add value to members. A quick overview of services and benefits available was provided including inward investment soft landing services, participation onto trade and policy investment agenda, trade related training and coaching as well as market entry support including free advisory sessions from Japanese and Chinese country specialists.
Dr Kegang Wu, Market Specialist, China Desk, Thames Valley Chamber discussed how those looking to enter the marketplace could seek support, strategy input and briefing, commenting: “Both the Thames Valley region and China, particularly Guangdong, have much to offer each other.”
Whilst Masako Eguchi-Bacon, Associate on the Japan Desk at the Chamber added: “Japanese companies are becoming more open to new ideas and technologies from outside their own organisations, and “open innovation” has become a popular buzzword.”
Glynis Whiting, Vice Chair, COBCOE Connects (Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe) outlined the core benefits and how members could get involved in shaping the programme.
Taking away uncertainty and ensuring business is conducted in a trusted environment are just two of the important aspects of the online digital platform COBCOE Connects. With Chambers of Commerce recognised across the world it has created four unique trading hubs which: raises profiles; identifies the right match; offers facilitated transactions; and offers services to assist businesses and help them grow globally.
Anne White closed the event commenting: “We recognise many of the challenges trading globally brings and the key factors which drive inward investment decisions. Our new Global membership offering helps overcome these challenges, facilitate introductions, improve efficiency and assist growth. It’s an exciting time for everyone in the Thames Valley and there is plenty to look forward to over the coming months.”
Exhibitors at the event included the China and Japan Desks; Chamber partner, Business Keys and Generate UK, the Chamber’s digital transformation partner.