Best in class SMEs invited to become export champions

• Three Leeds City Region businesses already selected for national programme
• Applications now open for cohort 3
• Programme supports businesses to break into Commonwealth markets

Business owners in Leeds City Region are being urged to apply for an exciting national export support programme, CommonwealthFirst delivered in partnership with the Royal Mail, which helps SME owners to trade and invest across Commonwealth markets.

Ambitious business leaders are now being selected to take part in the third cohort of CommonwealthFirst Export Champions. Following selection, they are supported in their quest to win new business in fast growing Commonwealth markets through training, mentoring, media exposure, business development support and opportunities to join exclusive trade missions. Export Champions are drawn from the very best SMEs in their markets and are selected on their potential for innovation, level of impact and ambition.

Already three Leeds City Region businesses have been selected for the programme including Rakusen’s, Hopkins Catering Ltd and Brandon Medical.

Victoria Hopkins (pictured), MD of Hopkins Catering Ltd, and speaker at recent LEP “Let’s talk selling overseas" event said:

“For us, and I’m sure for other businesses, we see Brexit’s impact as more of an opportunity to further broaden our horizons on the global stage. I’m delighted to have been selected to take part in the CommonwealthFirst and am keen to sell our products to new overseas markets. The programme provides an invaluable opportunity to share experiences with fellow business owners and learn how to approach to new markets.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:

“I’m delighted Leeds City Region businesses are already taking part in CommonwealthFirst. The LEP is the glue helping to bring businesses together with new markets. We, alongside other support organisations and networks out there, want to help companies considering trading in overseas markets, to take their plans from conception to reality. Get in touch with the LEP business growth service to find out what support is available.”

For more information, call the business growth service team on 0113 348 1818 or email To find out more about the CommonwealthFirst programme please click here.

The application deadline for CommonwealthFirst is Monday 5th June