CWEIC CEO Oliver Everett talks to Share Radio about the launch of CommonwealthFirst


Oliver Everett spoke recently to the Morning Money team at Share Radio about how UK SMEs should be taking advantage of opportunities to trade in the Commonwealth – which has one billion middle class consumers and will comprise 40% of the world’s workforce by 2020. Speaking to Nigel Cassidy, Everett highlighted the inbuilt advantages of trading within often-overlooked Commonwealth markets – with a shared language, similar legal and financial systems and business practices, trade is 19% cheaper between member countries.

“There’s a huge potential for growth; you have a very young population and growing middle classes – they are the markets where you could make the biggest impact…”

The interview, which can be listened-to here, was also an opportunity to mention that the CommonwealthFirst initiative – which, in partnership with the Royal Mail, aims to train and mentor 100 high-potential UK SMEs to Commonwealth export success – was still accepting applications.

The idea behind the initiative is that small and medium-sized businesses from industries that are saturated in the domestic UK market “might struggle for distribution here and might do better overseas”, but don’t always have the market knowledge and expertise to negotiate that leap and often don’t consider such an option “until someone knocks on the door”. Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, Commonwealth countries are a natural market for many of these would-be exporters, thanks to the underlying similarities mentioned.

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