Recently I had a two hour video Skype call with HR Director of one of Africa’s largest bottling plants to discuss their leadership development needs. He was located in a town on the edge of Lake Victoria in northern Tanzania. Our partner in Tanzania is securing an order with this client right now. Ten years ago, the meeting would have had to be face-to-face and it would have taken the best part of a week in travel to accomplish that.
The world has changed! The high-speed internet (although there still are black spots in Oxfordshire) enables us to think totally differently about our marketplace. Traditionally, the thinking was (nearly) always that you should establish a good business in your home market before embarking on exports.
Today, you need to think globally from the start. You might well need a local market client base to test new products or services but in general you need to ask yourself where the best markets for your technology, your IP, you know-how.
This is what SMEs in the Nordic countries and Benelux are doing, where up to 35% of businesses are involved in international trade (compared to 25% in the UK).
A recent report Unlocking UK Productivity co-authored by Goldman Sachs, the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and the British Business Bank (BBB) states Britain’s productivity is falling behind other economies because it is slower to turn ambitious smaller firms into exporters of innovative new products and services.
This report calls for more appropriate support from the government but it also requires a change of mindset of the UK’s entrepreneurs.
if you are interested talking with someone about your international business ambitions
What does the OIBC do?
The OIBC is a forum and community that helps businesses in Oxfordshire to operate effectively in international markets - import, export and investment.
The OIBC provides expertise and connections to help businesses play their part in redressing the international balance of trade and increasing prosperity throughout the county.
Who is it for?
Are you trying to export, possibly doing a bit already, but are finding it hard to wade through the legislative, financial and practical minefields?
Are you already trading internationally and want to expand into more markets?
Or you might represent an organisation that can help other businesses to trade internationally through links with private and public institutions and networks.
If you answered yes to any of the questions above then you'll benefit from being involved with OIBC.