With both Australia and South Africa playing at Villa Park, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is hosting a free event on September 16 at the club to highlight the opportunities for local businesses looking to trade with those two countries and the Commonwealth markets of Canada, India, and New Zealand.

UKTI Regional Director for the West Midlands Paul Noon said although the West Midlands exporters have a growing presence in a significant number of the 53 countries of the Commonwealth, there remained a rich seam of trade that regional companies could tap into.

And for those businesses thinking about selling into the overseas market, the Commonwealth is a good place to begin.

Paul Noon said:

“Trade with these markets is already significant.  In 2014, Australia was the 12th largest West Midlands export market and Canada 14th and both India and South Africa in our top 25. However, the Commonwealth still presents a huge opportunity for businesses in the West Midlands to grow overseas.

“With a combined GDP of over £5 trillion, a growing labour force and over 1 billion English speakers (and growing), trading with the Commonwealth has never been easier and more promising.

“Attending this event will give companies the chance to hear from trade experts as well as businesses who are already exporting, and I would encourage local companies to take advantage of this opportunity.”

UKTI figures show that the West Midlands exported more than £28.7 billion worth of goods in 2014; just over £2 billion of that total was traded with Commonwealth nations.

PCA Predict, a Worcester-based company that specialises in online data management, is just one company that has already achieved significant success in Australia.

Guy Mucklow, CEO, said:

“We had our eye on the Australian market for a while - with a similar culture, legal and tax system, the country was the perfect springboard for us and an excellent strategic location for straddling time zones across the globe. However, venturing into overseas markets can be a daunting experience for any business and that’s where working with an organisation such as UKTI can help.”