A really good event was put on at the Shard, London on Thursday 22nd September, looking out at the awesome views of our very special capital city from the dizzying heights of the 34th floor. Scanning the horizon and imagining the huge numbers of businesses selling, making and servicing with a terrific amount of innovation in the country, it is difficult to understand why less than 10% of them are operating outside our borders. An even lower number operate outside the EU.
What hope do we have of growing our post Brexit economy if our entrepreneurs are not interested in exporting their goods or services.
Dr Liam Fox suggested our business people are lazy. I see it differently. I see it as fear of the unknown and lack of tangible support. The sort of support that our German counterparts get.
Reducing fear and providing support was really the clear message that Routes to Growth tried to communicate. The event was, of course, targeted at Asia thanks to Cathay Pacific who organised the event.
A number of entrepreneurs discussed how they succeeded. Online presence, and not necessarily just in Asia, was the key link to consumer markets. Businesses need to get on a plane and visit, after some desk research, then visit again and again building strong relationships with clients.
I talked about our success in Asia with particular emphasis on Vietnam which now underpins a very large technology business, NashTech, which employs north of 2000 staff. Our growth from start up to the largest foreign owned software technology company in Vietnam created huge interest. People were amazed that over 83% of graduates in the country are science based and that NashTech creates digital software innovation for companies like Ford, Google, WPP and even the NHS.