Local MP’s Global Ambition for Lambeth Business

Lambeth MP and Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna joined forces with Trade Minister Lord Green in an event designed to help Lambeth businesses take advantage of the huge export opportunities available in the world’s emerging economies.

The event – ‘Going Global – Boosting Lambeth’s Exports’ – featured a wide-ranging discussion with local businesses, many of whom were attending with the aim of exporting for the first time and some of whom were seeking advice on expanding already thriving export businesses.

Mr Umunna, who recently led a successful London Chamber of Commerce trade mission to Nigeria and Ghana, spoke of his belief that Lambeth’s large Diaspora populations gave the area a key advantage in making the most of growth in the world’s emerging markets. Quarterly data released last week by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in London shows that one third (34%) of small businesses have exported in the last year.

The MP has previously warned of the dangers of British businesses missing out on the huge export opportunities available in the continent, and the continuing importance of the opportunities offered by the BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China.

In contrast to Britain, China’s trade with Nigeria increased by 800 per cent in the first decade of this century. Nigeria, the seventh largest country in the world, currently ranks only 31st as a market for British exports. Britain exports more to the Czech Republic – a small country less than a tenth of the size and less than a fifteenth of the population – than to Nigeria.

The event formed takes place as part of the Lambeth Means Business Expo at Lambeth Town Hall, an event organised by the London FSB and Lambeth Council. The event combines seminars, advice clinics, networking sessions and exhibition platforms to help businesses not just from Lambeth but from all over the Capital.

Commenting, Streatham MP & Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, said:

“This was a fantastic event all about making sure that our local businesses have the support and advice they need to grow and take advantage of the enormous opportunities available in emerging global economies.

“Our area’s large Diaspora communities, historic links and deep cultural ties give us huge and unique opportunities to make the most of strong economic growth not just in Sub-Saharan Africa but all over the world.

“The opportunities to export are available to such a huge cross-section of our local business community and I am delighted so many businesses are attending – especially as it gave me the opportunity to boast to the Trade Minister about how fantastic Lambeth businesses are.”

Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, said:

“Boosting our export performance is vital if we are to secure long term, sustainable economic growth. We want to see an additional 100,000 British businesses exporting by 2020 and events like this one in Lambeth can give companies the advice and encouragement they need to make that step for the first time.

“We are already helping businesses of all sizes in London and across the country take their goods and services to overseas markets. A wide range of help and support is available from UK Trade & Investment and other organisations, including business groups and local authorities, and I hope we will see more businesses here in Lambeth taking up opportunities overseas.”

Councillor Jackie Meldrum, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council, said:

“Lambeth has a history of enterprise and opportunity. There is exciting regeneration and development across the borough, offering fantastic opportunities but we must make sure those opportunities are available to small businesses, independents, start ups and entrepreneurs – they create diversity, innovation and economic growth that makes a place come alive.”