Trevor Sturgess, Journalist.
On 8th February 2017, IoD Kent went to Calais to meet like minded business people and explore the possibility of working together to create more sales.
The event went very well and clearly helped to start and build on the business relationships between IoD Kent and Calais.
Our speakers at the magnificent Calais Town Hall highlighted some very relevant topics for exporting and how generating business opportunities through export can clearly be rewarding.
Irrespective of Brexit, we must all be encouraged to continuing to seize the opportunities that can and will be created by proactively working together in developing our businesses.
Teamwork can always show a return on investment particularly if we remember what TEAM stands for: Together Everyone Achieves More.
Natacha Bouchart, the Mayor of Calais, welcomed the group, telling delegates: “Despite Brexit, I’m convinced that we can reinforce the ties that unite us and build strong relationships.”
Peter Boulton, IoD member and Kent Ambassador, who compered the event, presented Mme Bouchart with fine Kentish wine from Red Hill Farm Estate, generously provided by Henry Boorman, a member of the delegation.
Sian Holt, of Fudge Kitchen, explained how her 30-year old business had grown its export business and anticipated even more over the coming months. However, she revealed there was no French word for “fudge.”
Steve Sansom, trade development manager for KCC’s International Affairs Group, explained the Interreg ICE project linking businesses in Northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. “We can help companies understand how to adapt their product, service or process so they can be more ready to trade internationally,” he said.
Bob Lewis of the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce outlined the help it could give Kent businesses wishing to forge trading links in France.
John Keefe, director of public affairs at Eurotunnel, was upbeat about the link’s prospects post-Brexit. “The decision to leave the structures of the EU will not have any impact on the way we do business,” he said. “We’re working on making trade easier, not more complicated.”
Eurotunnel carried record traffic in 2016, with 1.6 million truck units. “We expect that to be above two million units a year by 2020.”
IoD Kent manager Lesley Bennett, pictured with Mme Bouchart, organized the event, which also offered delegates a chance to see the stunning views from the Town Hall Belfry.
We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did and we can all take valuable insights into expanding internationally.
I just wanted to say thank you for organising the day, which was very informative and from my point of view a great opportunity to network with a couple of distributors. It was also great to chat to other Kent producers who are currently exporting – a really good day and I have a few leads to follow up, which I am looking at.
IoD Kent Member