Clifton packaging boss named export champion to boost international trade

The managing director of flexible packaging manufacturer Clifton Packaging has been named an Export Champion by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Shahid Sheikh OBE (pictured, on the right) is one of 28 high profile business leaders from across the Midlands selected to offer peer-to-peer support, advice and expertise to other companies in the region looking to export or expand into new overseas markets.

The Export Champions initiative is part of a wider programme by the DIT to encourage and inspire businesses to export internationally. Announced at the inaugural Midlands Engine Trade Summit, the Midlands Engine Export Champions Programme follows the launch of the government’s Midland’s Engine Strategy developed to help the region reach its full economic potential.

Mr Sheikh said: “I am extremely proud to be appointed one of the inaugural Export Champions. The regions have an important role to play in driving national economic success and international trade has the potential to deliver a huge boost to economic growth and performance, ultimately leading to greater prosperity, job prospects and quality of life for all.

As we approach Brexit, it is vital that our economy is underpinned by strong foundations and remains resilient to the challenges ahead. Creating a strong appetite for investment and exports from overseas is a critical factor in achieving that.”

The Export Champions span a wide range of sectors and services including textiles, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, marketing, science and technology.

In addition to engaging with SMEs and local businesses, the Export Champions will promote the Department for International Trade’s Exporting is GREAT campaign which helps UK businesses break onto overseas markets. The programme will provide practical advice and support to drive further growth in exports.

More than 27,000 businesses across the Midlands exported nearly £40 billion worth of products to over 100 countries in 2015 and the Midlands is responsible for 24% of England’s manufacturing output with particular strengths in automotive, motorsport, aerospace and rail.