New export champion set to engineer better links for overseas growth

A Loughborough University professor is set to help local entrepreneurs take their first steps into overseas trade.

Engineering Professor Steve Rothberg is UK Trade & Investment’s (UKTI’s) latest expert to join a network of business leaders known as Catalyst. Members promote the UK internationally by speaking at UKTI events, as well as discussing their insights and views with businesses.

As part of the new role, Steve will provide mentoring to local businesses and expand on his work with industry, which has included leading the Loughborough team on a £40m Manufacturing Technology Centre project. He will also build on his current commitments with business, public and voluntary organisations to create better social, cultural and economic impacts through knowledge exchange. He is involved in graduate entrepreneurship and the development of the University’s Science and Enterprise Park.

Having lived and worked in Loughborough for 23 years, Steve believes that supporting local business is a key driver for the economy:

“By joining the Catalyst network I hope I can help start-up firms or those new to exporting by helping them make better connections: I’m in the unique position of having access to 700 academics across the University. These are not only the contacts at our business school, but also a range of technical experts on campus, particularly those working in the fields of low-carbon and sustainability.

“Loughborough University itself attracts overseas students and works in collaboration with other academics across the globe. The University also attracts foreign delegations, so I bring knowledge of many funding streams and can offer advice on how businesses may be able to access these.

“I would also like to see more local Queen’s Awards for International Trade winners for 2014. I was delighted when CommAgility, which is based on the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, won the accolade for International Trade this year. I hope our Science and Enterprise Park continues to help even more firms flourish by facilitating research collaboration and graduate recruitment.

Steve is now made his official debut as a UKTI Catalyst member at an Nottingham event where experienced exporters and novice traders gathered to discuss the challenges new exporters face, as well as sharing key hints and tips to getting started overseas.

Joining the discussion was Paul Moakes of Loughborough’s CommAgility, which designs, manufactures and sells electronic products for the wireless telecommunication industry. It received a Queen’s Award for International Trade in recognition of its success in selling to overseas markets. From 2010 to 2012, CommAgility’s export sales grew by 51 per cent.

Sectors: Education & Training
Countries: East Midlands
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