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Driving Global Trade at Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce: The Team and the Initiatives

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 05 Jun 2024

Enabling local businesses to spread their wings and sell beyond the nation’s borders has long been an objective of Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce, which has been supporting businesses in the region for almost 150 years.

And this vision not only has its own specialist champions within the Chamber – the global trade and Chamber Customs team – but it is now entering an exciting new chapter, thanks to both Government funding and partner initiatives.

Here’s more on the team and the work they’re doing.

Everything you need to go global

Our global trade and Chamber Customs team is Paula Devine, Nicky James, and Jabine Parkar, who, between them, have amassed over 60 proud years’ experience working at the Chamber. 

They take care of everything businesses need to be able to ship globally – paperwork, submissions, declarations – and basically ensure that our members’ goods, no matter where they enter or leave the UK, are cleared for onward transportation smoothly.

Paula says the team’s advice to businesses on global trade is to rigorously research it first and speak to the Chamber to get help with this, but thereafter it’s “Give it a go!” Nearly 143,000 companies exported out of the UK in 2023, and with the team’s help, local businesses can be part of this massive growth opportunity.

Plus, whilst international shipping does require businesses to submit significant amounts of information, the exacting and time-consuming work of assembling it to create compliant documentation is entirely taken care of by the Chamber team.

Free support for global trade

One of the recent initiatives the team has been involved in delivering is a free international trade support programme for businesses registered in Central Bedfordshire, launched jointly with Central Bedfordshire Council.

Whether you’re eyeing international trade for the first time, or are an experienced exporter looking to grow your overseas markets, this programme, which is part of the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), gives your business free access to:

  • Up to four online international trade workshops, to help you with rules, processes and documents
  • Guidance, intelligence, and support to help you reach new international markets

  • Practical assistance, resources, and tools to address common international trade challenges

All you need to do is complete the UKSPF application form. Once this process is complete, you can contact us to choose your trade workshops.

Help with global strategy

Another way the team here is helping Central Bedfordshire businesses maximise their global trade potential is through an innovative, funded partnership with local marketing specialist SF Digital.

This takes the form of a Marketing Audit & Action Blueprint, which examines your current marketing strategies, online presence, and market positioning, to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in both domestic and international markets.

We’re proud to be working with this local specialist that is among the top 3% of Google Partners to be accredited with the Premier badge in recognition of its digital marketing expertise.

If you’re a Central Bedfordshire-based business, you can learn more, and apply, on our dedicated Marketing Audit & Action Blueprint page.

Members’ global business resources

As you’d expect from an organisation with such a focus on international trade, Bedfordshire Chamber also offers its members many other resources and services to support global business.

These include everything from market research to overseas visits and specialist consultancy services, to consular services, translation and interpreting, and more.

A constantly growing bank of seminars, webinars, and training courses mean our members also have easy access to critical global trade knowledge, information, and updates, and our networking events enable businesses like yours to further their global trade aspirations by meeting with like-minded peers and potential partners.

To enquire about becoming a Chamber member, visit or speak to our friendly team on 01582 522448.

Topics: global, trade, Global Trade

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