Morning Session: Empowering SMEs to expand overseas 

Export and International Trade beyond Brexit

Andrea  Collins, Managing Director, The Export Department

10:20 -11:00am

“With Brexit on the horizon, there can be no doubt that UK businesses should be stepping outside of their comfort zones and looking towards markets outside of the trading block to expand their brands and grow their profitability. Whilst GDP growth remains healthy in key Western European markets (Hungary, Poland, Romania), growth is much lower within those member states with whom the UK has traditionally traded the most i.e. Germany, France, Netherlands, etc.


There are a multitude of emerging markets that offer new opportunities and where GDP growth is consistently 6%+ year on year. Key emerging markets are enjoying higher levels of disposable income, and are witnessing the emergence of an increasingly large and influential middle-class who have a taste for British goods. The brand ‘Made in Britain’ represents quality in these markets, and the level of infrastructure investment offers tremendous opportunities for UK services companies.


The Session will explore the opportunities some of these exciting economies represent for UK goods and services companies, and importantly how organisations can mitigate risk and optimise success when embarking on international trade with these markets.”

Speaker: Andrea Collins, Managing Director, The Export Department           
Andrea is an international trade specialist with 22+ years in the industry; a linguist fluent in French and Spanish, Andrea specializes in Export.

Having worked in the Chemicals, IT, and Professional Services sectors, the first 12 years of Andrea’s career were spent predominantly overseas both selling direct and establishing distribution channels for a number of FTSE and Euronext companies including ICI and RightNow.

Recent years saw Andrea exporting her own market research company’s services to Europe and the US. A passionate ambassador of UK micro businesses and SMEs, she launched The Export Department to assist these companies expand their horizons internationally and raise the profile of UK goods and services abroad.

An MBA graduate, Andrea is also a member and trainer of the Institute of Export and International Trade.”

Afternoon Session: The Lower Thames Crossing Project 

Development, consultation, timelines, procurement and supply chain opportunities.  

David Manning, Lower Thames Crossing - Director Tunnels, Highways England

14:30 - 15:00pm

The Lower Thames Crossing is the most ambitious road scheme since the M25 and will link Kent, Thurrock and Essex. This session will provide an update of the project, its development and consultation to date, timelines going forward and procurement. It will also give an overview of the scheme’s partnership with the Supply Chain School, which will help to upskill local businesses so they are best placed to win work on the project.