School governor appointed ‘Export Champion’ by Department for International Trade

13 March 2017

Studio school governor and successful businessman Malcolm Hall MBE has been appointed an ‘Export Champion’ by the government.

The appointment was announced by International Trade Minister Mark Garnier MP at the inaugural Midlands Engine Trade Summit in Birmingham last week.

The Export Champions is part of a programme to encourage and inspire businesses to export internationally. Mr Hall, founder and managing director of Mansfield-based industrial supplies firm Hall-Fast, is one of 28 high-profile business leaders from across the region appointed to provide peer-to-peer support to help others expand into new markets and fulfil their global potential.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr Hall said: “I was obviously really pleased to be asked to take on an ambassadorial role for the Department for International Trade. The government has set ambitious targets to get an additional 100,000 SMEs exporting by 2020, and I am keen to do my bit to promote the benefits of exporting and bust the myths that put a lot of SMEs off exporting.’’

More than 600 delegates attended the Midlands Engine Trade Summit, where they participated in specialist workshops and heard first-hand the steps they can take to export their goods and services overseas. In addition to engaging with SMEs and local businesses, the Export Champions will promote the Department for International Trade’s Exporting is GREAT campaign and digital tool, which helps UK businesses break into overseas markets.

Speaking at the summit, Mr Garnier MP said: “We want to use the momentum of the Midlands Engine to drive this region’s exports to new heights and I am delighted to announce the launch of these new champions. 28 experienced exporters based in the Midlands will work to inspire others to either export for the first time or to export more.

“My department is helping even more companies in the region explore opportunities on the global market and through this programme local business will truly benefit from a range of expert advice from local business leaders.”

More than 27,000 businesses across the Midlands Engine exported nearly £40 billion worth of products to over 100 countries in 2015 and the Midlands is responsible for 24% of England’s manufacturing output, with particular strengths in automotive, motorsport, aerospace and rail. The creation of the Midlands Engine Export Champions Programme swiftly follows the launch of the government’s Midlands Engine Strategy.

Hall-Fast exports its standard range of 200,000 items to a growing customer base of 22,500 clients in 92 overseas markets. While its online strategy is not the conventional route to exporting, its success has led to extensive coverage in the The Guardian and The Times newspapers, and both UK Trade & Investment and the East Midlands Chamber use Hall-Fast as an example to help promote exporting to other businesses.

In June 2013, the government published its Strategy for the Information Economy sector –  part of its work on the wider Industrial Strategy – and Hall-Fast was held up as an example of how businesses can grow by harbouring the power of the internet.