KIB Newsletter November 2021

Posted on: 3rd November 2021

International Trade Webinars & Online Events – diary dates:


International Trade Week – 15th-19th November

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has announced its first International Trade Week – an ambitious, new week-long event to help businesses learn more about selling globally, giving them the confidence they need to grow by exporting.

The week will take place from 15 – 19 November 2021. It will include virtual and in person business and sector led activities, showcasing events and workshops available to businesses of all sizes and all sectors, and hosted by expert trade advisors, Parliamentarians and Ministers. It will aim to encourage UK businesses to export and sell to the world, as well as showcasing the long-term support that is available to help them do so. The events available stretch from creating market entry strategies for the Asia-Pacific region to introductions to export finance and support, and sessions on what Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) mean for UK businesses.

Please click here for details of events and to sign-up.

Europe Trade month – 2-26 November

DIT has just launched the website for Europe Trade Month. There are over 20 high level events in the programme involving business opportunities by sector and national/regional markets, tips on exporting to Europe under the new trading arrangements and ‘meet the adviser sessions’ with colleagues across the various markets. The month long programme of events dovetails and aligns closely with the International Week of Trade as well.

In addition to all of the exciting events, the sectors tab of the website includes summaries of key business opportunities across the various national markets. This has been created specifically for Europe Trade Month so these opportunities are fully up to date.

Please click here to visit the Europe Trade month website and find out more.

SEED Project Update – IRELAND & UAE

The SE Export Development project which is being led by Kent County Council and Kent Invicta Chamber along with counterparts in Essex, Medway and East Sussex, is helping small businesses to get into overseas markets.

We are now inviting companies to sign up for our programmes of activity focusing on the United Arab Emirates (food & drink) and Ireland (health & life sciences).

Plans are well underway for the first market-specific programmes of activity starting in Autumn 2021: UAE for Food & Drink and Ireland for Health & Life Sciences which include market briefings and insight, 121 support from ‘in-market’ specialists, and meetings with in-market contacts as part of our virtual trade missions.

Please click here to download our UAE Food & Drink Programme flyer with full details of the programme.

Please click here to download our Ireland Health & Life Sciences Programme flyer with full details of the programme.

If these are of interest or you’re not sure, why not take a look at the Country Guides produced by the Department for International Trade:

If you’re interested in participating in the SEED project, click here to contact us or click here to download our Expression of Interest form on this page and return to us.

SEED Project Logo

IMPULS Autumn Event Schedule


As part of the IMPULS project and to foster easier connections across the UK/France partnership, IMPULS can offer FREE attendance for the following virtual life science events taking place this Autumn:

MEDICA Healthcare Brokerage Event 2021 – Welcome ( (15-18 November)

  • Use this networking opportunity at one of Europe’s most important health & Life Sciences events to initiate new businesses
  • Meet providers of innovative technologies from throughout Europe and beyond
  • Connect to potential partners for future co-operation
  • Establish international contacts for long-term business relationships
  • Find new partners for research projects

Please click here to find out more information about this event.

If you are interested in finding out more about the IMPULS project, please fill out an expression of interest form (if new to the IMPULS project) or email us at and we will contact you with further details: To access the expression of interest form in English please click on this link

IMPULS Webinar:

The IMPULS partners are also offering the following webinar for Life Science SMEs to attend:

The Landscape for Digital Health Technologies, 24 November, Click here for more information

IMPULS Project Logo

Boost4Health Support Vouchers available!  (max. value €1,500):

Support Vouchers for Kent Life Science SMEs  aim to boost collaborations between SMEs and a ‘service provider in a different Northwest Europe country. It can be used for hiring expertise for a short time, examples include:

  • Hire a consultant, to carry out lead generation / customer identification activities abroad.
  • Feasibility studies for market suitability / insight / routes to market.
  • Hire a consultant / agency, to carry product or marketing material localization activities abroad.
  • One-day digital training sessions on specific topics

Please click here to apply for a Support (Travel) Voucher

Apply for a Boost4Health Connection (Travel) Voucher (max. value €500):

Kent Life Science companies who are keen to attend events hosted across Northwest Europe can apply for a €500 Boost4Health Connection Voucher. The voucher  can be used to cover fees for online events and other relevant services to the event (special sessions, costs for promotion, matchmaking apps) or for internationalisation purposes.

It can also be used to cover travel and accommodation costs to attend events across NorthWest Europe in person.

If you are attending the Leading International Life Science Trade fair MEDICA in Dusseldorf (15 -18 November 2021) you can cover travel and accommodation costs of up to €500 with a Boost4Health Connection Voucher

Please click here to apply for a Connection Voucher

Don’t forget, if you become a Boost4Health Service Provider, Life Science companies from across NW Europe could spend their B4H Vouchers with you!

Find out more about becoming a Service Provider by clicking here.

Boost4Health project logo

Food & Drink Sector – Tavola 2022

The Department for International Trade at the UK Embassy in Brussels, Belgium is supporting 20 UK producers fine foods and drinks to exhibit at Tavola, which takes place from 20-22 March 2022 at XPO Kortrijk. Tavola is a trade fair for the world of fine foods and fresh products, presenting classic and trendy foods attracting 20,000 visitors (professionals only) from 35 countries. Target audience: hospitality and retail.

There are opportunities for innovative UK food & drink companies to apply for a space on the UK pavilion at Tavola 2022, the fine food & drink trade show that takes place in Kortrijk, Belgium in March 2022.

There are a very limited number of spaces available – please get in touch with us (please click here to email us) if you’re interested in applying. You’ll need to have a range of high-end products and be confident that you could are ‘export-ready’ for EU markets.

Tavola 2020 logo

KEIBA 2021 Winners Announced

The Kent Excellence in Business Awards is an annual awards scheme staged and produced by KM Media Group and Kent County Council to recognise and reward excellence in Kent’s businesses.

This year’s winner of the Success in International Trade category is Bigjigs Toys.

Bigjigs Toys was born in 1985 in Peter Ireland’s garden shed. He was learning to be a craft design teacher and began making wooden toys in his spare time. Friends and began making wooden toys in his spare time. Friends and family were so impressed by his wooden creations that they kept asking him to make toys for them.

Peter began making wooden jigsaws from floorboards, which he and wife Liz sold at craft fairs all across the UK. Then, during one school holiday, they made the decision to give up teaching and pursue the toys business full time. Bigjigs Toys was born.

Initially sold through mail order – at its peak during the 1990s it was printing 500,000 catalogues every year – it began to supply other toy shops and retails – making trade and B2B sales its biggest income.

Three years ago, it launched its B2C website – allowing the public to also buy direct.

Today it operates from a large warehouse in Folkestone; distributing toys worldwide to over 100 countries, and employing close to 50 staff. Peter and Liz still run the company – with their two sons also now directors. It works closely with a number of production facilities in the Far East – which are regularly visited to ensure they operate ethically and are committed to the quality expected.

Even during the pandemic it has seen consistent grown internationally – with new ranges coming online and being set up through regular video calls.

Its direct-to-store business across the EU was impacted by Brexit – but it restructured its shipping process to ensure customers have seen no material difference. It hopes to double its B2B business in the Middle East and grow its B2C business in the EU to in excess of 1m euros. For the B2B business in the Middle East, it currently has two distribution partners that target the educational market with the aim to find two more that target the retail market.

When travel restrictions ease, it intends to attend international trade shows in a bid to boost its growth further.

The other finalists in the Success in International Trade category were:

  • Hornby Hobbies
  • Viking Maritime Group

Please click here to find out more about the Kent Excellence in Business Awards.

Please click here to read the e-edition 2021 KEIBA book


KICC Quarterly Economic Survey

The Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey is part of the largest independent business survey in the UK and a significant economic indicator. Taking 2 minutes to complete the survey helps the British Chambers of Commerce and other decision makers to better understand what is impacting business at the moment.

Click here to visit the survey page and have your say!


Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Logo

UK – New Zealand Trade Deal

A comprehensive trade agreement with New Zealand will create new opportunities for UK businesses. Tariffs as high as 10% will be removed on a range of UK goods, from clothing and footwear to buses, ships, bulldozers and excavators, giving UK exporters across the country an advantage over international rivals in the New Zealand import market, a market which is expected to grow by around 30% by 2030

The deal will also remove red tape and deepen access for advanced tech and services companies, while making it easier for smaller businesses to break into the New Zealand market.

How the South East Benefits:

  • Automotive companies in the South East that exported £26.3m of vehicles to New Zealand last year will benefit from the removal of up to 10% tariffs.
  • The removal of tariffs of up to 5%, alongside streamlined customs and border procedures, will also help manufacturers that exported £14.8m of machinery to New Zealand last year.
  • Wine producers like Gusbourne Estate will see tariffs of up to 5% on wine removed, making their products more competitive in the New Zealand market.
  • Businesses in the South East that exported £3.4m of food products to New Zealand last year will benefit from the removal of 5% tariffs on various food products including chocolate, biscuits, and crisps.

Click here to see the New Zealand Regional Factsheet.

New Export Support Service for UK Businesses

What is the Export Support Service?

The Export Support Service is a new helpline and online service where UK businesses can get answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. It gives access to cross government information and support all in one place.

What types of questions can you ask?

The service provides information and guidance for queries about exporting any products or services to Europe and will help you navigate existing guidance.

Which markets does the service cover?

The Export Support Service will initially focus on questions businesses have about trading with Europe but may expand to cover more global markets in the future. You can find support and information about exporting to countries outside of Europe at

How do you access the service?

You can access the Export Support Service by clicking here to visiting the government website or by
calling 0300 303 8955. You will be put in touch with a member of the dedicated export support team.

Growing International Trade: UK Services Roadshow 17 November (online participation possible)

Helping Financial, Professional & Business Services in a world of opportunity and change

Join DIT for an informative day and hear from Government and leaders in the Financial, Professional and Business Services sector across FinTech, Accounting, Legal Services, Consultancy and more on how UK services businesses are already growing their overseas sales.

This event will highlight the international opportunities available to your business and prepare you for your next steps in selling your services internationally.

Attendees will learn:

• The Financial, Professional and Business Services regional landscape: business sectors, collaboration, and new growth opportunities
• Green finance and embracing sustainability: Reflections on COP26
• Established vs emerging markets: The new opportunities in services with key market specialists such as Canada, Mexico, the US and more

The event will be joined on the day by the UK’s Minister for Exports – Mike Freer MP.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from industry leaders and find out how to take your international sales to the next level.

For more information and to register, visit:

Innovate UK Update:

Live Global Partnering Opportunities

Partnering or collaborating with an organisations, business or research institution in another country can be a great way to internationalise your business. There are plenty of live opportunities to work with businesses across the world – why not take a few minutes to check the  5,000+ current live global partnering opportunities currently available by clicking this link.

Interested in honing your pitching skills? Applications now open for the Innovate UK EDGE Pitchfest South East

Innovate UK EDGE is now looking for 15 high-growth potential businesses in South East of England with innovative products or services.

Applications will close on 1 December 2021.

What does Innovate UK EDGE Pitchfest offer you?

  • Two days of comprehensive pitch training
  • Access to leading pitch and investment experts
  • Training to craft a powerful investor proposition and pitch deck
  • Opportunity to understand how to find investor networks in your region and across the UK
  • Constructive no-risk feedback from a panel of real investors
  • Bespoke follow-on support from a dedicated innovation and growth specialist
  • Pitchfest applications will be panel reviewed so this is a competitive selection process, but I really think it is an excellent opportunity for you.

Click here to find out more information and how to apply.

UK Research & Innovation Logo Innovate UK Sector

Inspiring Kent Exporters Champion Others to Overseas Success

An impressive eight Kent business leaders have now been named Department for International Trade (DIT) Export Champions in a growing national peer-to-peer support network for companies looking to trade abroad.

Sian Holt, Managing Director of Fudge Kitchen, based in Lyminge, and Laura Bounds, the MD of Kent Crisps, located in Bridge, near Canterbury, are among some 400 champions from across the UK who have had their exporting expertise recognised by the Department. Laura was awarded the MBE in 2020 for services to international trade.

Also included among the senior executives who make up the high-powered network, launched by DIT in 2018, is Andrew Hodgson, CEO of Dartford engineering firm Beck & Pollitzer, and Matt Smith, MD at TPS Global Logistics. The Aylesford freight-forwarding specialist is a two-time winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

Completing the county’s list of Export Champions are Georgie Delaney, co-founder and MD of Faversham-based The Great Outdoor Gym CompanyGiedre Brandao, Managing Director of in-vitro diagnostics research company AbBaltis, in Sittingbourne, and John Tibbs, founder and Chairman of JTA – the renowned international sport public relations consultancy centred in Speldhurst.

Virginia Hodge, Marketing and Export Officer at Tenterden’s Old Dairy Brewery, took up her place in the network, which ranges from tailors to the Queen to cyber security specialists, this summer. Click here to find out more about Old Dairy’s story.

Boasting an impressive track record of international trading, DIT Export Champions are able to mentor others aspiring to begin exporting or to break into new markets. They also raise awareness of the wide range of practical help available for exporters through DIT and provide feedback to help the government continually improve its business support services.

Giedre Brandao, Managing Director of AbBaltis, which now employs 10 staff with an annual turnover of around £850,000, said: “We would not be the business we are today without exporting. It has allowed our business to thrive and I am incredibly proud to have customers across the globe.

“I feel that I am championing Kent and the UK whenever we help an international customer.”

Steve Samson, Kent County Council’s Trade Development Manager, said: “The Export Champions network is just one of the export-related support options available to Kent businesses.

“The Kent International Business (KIB) programme brings together the services provided by DIT, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and other initiatives. These include the ‘South East Export Development’ and ‘IMPULS’ projects led by KCC and designed to connect Kent businesses to overseas markets.

“Through the KIB programme we have had the privilege of working closely with many of Kent’s Export Champions and we look forward to providing any additional assistance to help them to promote their world-class products and services abroad.”

Click here to find out more about Fudge Kitchen by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about Kent Crips by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about Beck & Pollitzer by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about TPS Global by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about the Great Outdoor Gym Company by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about Abbaltis by visiting their website.

Click here to find out more about JTA by visiting their website.

South East Export Champions Logo 2021/22

National Maritime – Opportunities in the Indian Maritime Defence Supply Chain for UK Companies – 9 November

At the May 2021 Summit the Prime Ministers of India and UK set out a shared vision for the UK-India defence partnership and agreed to advance the relationship to a new level. Both governments have agreed a Joint Statement and 2030 Roadmap, which includes a Free Trade Agreement. This marks the beginning of a promising new era for UK-India research, capability and industrial collaboration on Indian combat air, maritime propulsion, space, cyber security and beyond.

As Defence is one of the four pillars of the Roadmap, we are bringing together sector experts and industry leaders to provide valuable insights and knowledge on this sector with focus on the Indian market.

This webinar is supported by National Maritime and Make UK Defence, it aims to highlight opportunities in the Indian maritime defence supply chain for UK companies and to provide a briefing on the broad direction of the India-UK defence and maritime collaboration. Areas to be covered in the session would include

  • A briefing on the India UK bilateral relationship and recent reforms announced by India
  • Current and upcoming opportunities in the India Maritime Defence Sector
  • How UK companies can access these opportunities and procurement processes
  • Export Finance and support channels via UKEF


Investment Opportunities in The Basque Country

Expanding into the Spanish market? The Basque region could be a good place to start:

The Basque government trade and investment agency is organising a virtual event on 30 November to highlight opportunities in the Basque region of Spain for business and investment. The webinar is aimed at companies interested in setting up offices or manufacturing plant in the Basque region within 3 main sectors – Energy, Automotive and Biohealth. Businesses looking to open an operation in the Basque Country in the next 2-3 years will also be able to book virtual meetings with Basque region investment specialists.

To find out more about the ‘Investment Opportunities in The Basque Country’ webinar please email

And finally, who can help with my export-related enquiry?

 As businesses continue to face many export-related challenges at the moment and a number of support services are available, this short guide lets you know who it’s best to contact to help with you queries.

An overview of the different export-support providers:

There are a number of key organisations involved in providing direct support and advice to Kent businesses with international trade under the ‘Kent International Business’ (KIB) umbrella including:

  • The Department for International Trade
  • Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce
  • The Enterprise Europe Network team at the University of Greenwich
  • Kent County Council’s Trade Development team

Find out more on the KIB website:


General international trade advice and signposting:

The Kent & Medway Growth Hub Helpline is the one-stop shop for business advice and guidance. The team of advisors can help with enquiries ranging from starting a business to dealing with export paperwork. The team has access to specialist advisors with experience in international trade. 03333 602 300


General Export Enquiries (market and sector-specific):

Businesses can also contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) South East’s enquiry hub via 0330 300 0012 or for help with general export enquiries and referrals to complementary DIT local and national programmes. DIT also has a number specialist International Trade Advisors available to help Kent businesses with exporting.


Specific EU trade-related queries:

The Government has recently launched a dedicated hotline and online service for UK exporters with specific queries relating to trade with the EU which can be accessed via The hotline is designed to bring together expertise and advice from different government departments including DIT, DEFRA and BEIS.


Help with Export Documentation & Customs:

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce has a specialist team who can help businesses with the paperwork required to export goods from the UK.


EU Partnerships & Collaborations:

The Innovate UK Edge team at the University of Greenwich is still part of Enterprise Europe Network and can provide assistance to firms with contact finding in EU markets and access to innovation funding.


Trading Goods with the EU:

Kent County Council’s website has a range of information about doing business with the EU including details on import and export guidance and rules.