You can export tea to China is the message to Gloucestershire companies

As a Government initiative to encourage companies to export more products overseas, the UK Trade and Investment body (UKTI) and GFirst LEP (the Local Enterprise Partnership for Gloucestershire) brought together Gloucestershire’s most influential businesses in order to drive economic growth and exports, encourage and boost the county’s export performance, as well as give local companies an opportunity to network and learn from each other’s successes.

GFirst LEP alongside UKTI hosted the Cheltenham GREAT Weeks Roadshow event, at the Cheltenham Racecourse on 17 September 2013. The event featured first-hand experience from some of Gloucestershire and the South West’s most successful companies from the Creative Industries, Retail, Luxury and Food & Drink products.

Attending the event were some of Gloucestershire’s leading businesses, both large and small, they were inspired by a line-up of speakers, including local MP for Gloucester, Richard Graham to export their home grown ‘made in Gloucestershire’ products throughout the world, in order to boost economic growth and create jobs throughout the county. In his opening address, Richard Graham reinforced the belief that we have much to be proud of already in Gloucestershire, evidenced by already exporting flavoured tea to China. This continues the export drive on the back of the recent trade delegation visit from China, when six senior Government officials from Chengdu City in the Wuhou District of China visited Gloucester earlier in August hosted by GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire County Council and Join in China (a Gloucestershire business dedicated to simplifying trade with China), with the aim to explore trading opportunities with Gloucestershire firms.

Attendees at the roadshow were encouraged to export their products and services by some of Gloucestershire’s most inspirational businesses who talked about their experience within the exporting market, including Oli Christie, CEO of Neon Play, Matt Janes, Head of Brand Communications at Weird Fish and Melanie Leech Director General of Food and Drink Federation. Introducing the event was CEO of GFirst LEP David Owen and Chair of GFirst LEP, Diane Savory OBE, who explained the phenomenal success story of the SuperGroup company rising from the humble beginnings of a market stall to a world-wide company trading on the Stock Exchange.

Oli Christie, who set up Neon play just 3 years ago, explained that 73% of their 52 million downloads are exported to over 155 countries, an amazing success story contributing towards the company recently receiving a Queens Award for Innovation. Matt from Weird Fish described to the audience the challenge of breaking into the international markets and the need to translate messages and tailoring imagery to suit the local economy and demographics of the target market.

David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP comments: “Gloucestershire is the highest rated county in the UK for employing people in export potential industries, and we already have a bedrock of astounding export success stories in Gloucestershire like Green Fuels Ltd who export around the world. With help from UKTI in advice, support and knowledge, the county has huge potential for increasing its market for exporting goods and services that will help the local economy in job creation and growth.  Promoting and encouraging Gloucestershire companies to explore exporting opportunities is an important foundation for our Strategic Economic Plan and our Growing Gloucestershire campaign to drive sustainable economic growth in the county.”

For more information on the GREAT Weeks Roadshows, visit


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