A capacity audience comprising some of the UK's leading small businesses and entrepreneurs attended the 'Going Global' workshop in London on Wednesday.
'Going Global' is the latest in a popular series of Entrepreneur Country events aimed at providing informative and interactive workshops, connecting thought leaders with the small business and enterprise communities.
'Going Global' was presented in association with UK Trade and Investment and Nabarro LLP, both major supporters of entrepreneurs and small business. Opening the event, Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capital talked fondly about her own 'global' journey when she built the international network, First Tuesday.
Emma Jones, Founder of Enterprise Nation and author of the highly-acclaimed book 'Go Global' was the first keynote speaker and set the scene for the new 21st century phase of international trade which we have now entered. Gone are the days when years of effort were required in the domestic market before going global. You can now start a company on Monday and be trading with the world by Wednesday. The web has made this perfectly possible and faced with a sluggish UK market there's never been a better time to leverage technology and look overseas; after all, a connection to the internet is a connection with over 1 billion potential customers.
Speaking on the rise of the micro multi-national Neal Gandhi, founder of Quickstart Global gave an impassioned plea for entrepreneurs to consider overseas market and set out to explain some of the challenges and solutions. His advice to businesses contemplating ventures abroad was simple- get on a plane, visit the countries, meet people, experience the culture and make connections. Neal also re-iterated the importance of London as a global economic hub and how advancements in telecommunications have re-invented the concept of the multi-national.
Amongst the most important considerations when considering 'going global' is securing legal advice to aid you in protecting and exploiting your brands and technology internationally. Guy Heath, Head of Intellectual Property at Nabarro's, spoke authoritatively on the different types of intellectual property protection available in different countries and regions. His speech covered the associated costs and the potential ramifications and expense as a consequence of failing to protect your intellectual property from the outset.
With over 80% of online trade being conducted in just 9 languages, Daniel Rajkumar, M.D. of Web-Translations, a Leeds based provider of translation services highlighted the importance of maximizing the global potential of your business by accommodating other languages besides just English. Daniel highlighted simple and cost effective ways to build your brand and reputation abroad by incorporating a selection of language options into your website and social media.
The final speech of the day summarised not only the optimism for the growth of British business abroad but also the importance of the political will that currently exists. Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green pulled no punches in his assessment that Britain has been underperforming abroad in recent years and that the demise of apprenticeships and misperceptions about the strength of British manufacturing had hindered the UK from reasserting itself as a global export leader. His vision for the future was insightful, upbeat and warmly received from the audience. Whilst Lord Green admitted that there was no magic wand to fix underlying problems over night he was quick to reassure the audience that regulations which genuinely have a negative impact on business (and not just perceived impact) would be reviewed by the government and that growing the economy and supporting entrepreneurs was at the top of the national political agenda.
With the event closing it was reassuring to notable how positive small business and entrepreneurs are that the economy is being to emerge from recession and that the political-will now exists to support small business and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, create employment and to stimulate the economy.