BExA unveiled the winners of its Young Exporter, Young Export Financier and Lifetime Achievement Awards at its Annual Lunch at Mansion House in London on October 8.
BExA’s awards recognise those who have played a key role and made a real difference to UK exporting over the course of the last year. The winners of each of the categories were chosen by three separate judging panels comprised of BExA Council Members and industry professionals, and were selected from a number of nominations that were sent in by UK companies across the country.
In a speech given at the lunch, Louis Taylor, Chief Executive of UK Export Finance (UKEF) praised the efforts of the UK’s exporting community. “Exporting is the fuel in the engine of the UK economy. Exporters like you all here will be key to our future success in cracking new markets, deepening existing trade links and making the UK an exporting superpower following our exit from the European Union.”
Taylor thanked the exporters present at the lunch, and the companies they represent, for the resilience, perseverance and fortitude that they constantly exhibit by “keeping calm and carrying on exporting”. “Of course there are serious issues facing the economy, and indeed the global economy. But the performance of our exporters throughout this recent period has been strong,” he said.
These recent “serious issues” were addressed by BExA President, the Rt Hon. Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, who, in her speech at the lunch, called for an end to the current environment of uncertainty, which she said has become a “real problem” facing exporters across all sectors. “Let us hope that whatever the outcome in the next few weeks – hard Brexit, soft Brexit, no Brexit at all – it is resolved soon,” she said. “We are a resilient and a resourceful nation, full of resilient and resourceful business men, women and exporters. I trust that in the next few weeks, we can get back to what our country has been outstandingly good at for so long – trade, export and wealth creation. And BExA is here to support you.”
A career dedicated to exporting
BExA’s Lifetime Achievement Award – introduced this year for the first time – seeks to honour a person who has provided exceptional service to the UK exporting community, who has helped to inspire and develop others to achieve international success, and who has been a role model to their peers.
This award was established to mark the centenary of UKEF, which was created by the UK government in 1919 to revitalise British exports following the First World War.
The winner of the inaugural BExA Lifetime Achievement Award is Carl Hunter, the CEO of Coltraco Ultrasonics, a high-exporting manufacturer in the shipping, offshore oil and gas, renewables, naval, power and safety engineering sectors.
UKEF’s Taylor, who presented the award at the BExA lunch, explained how Hunter – who was also awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier this year – has led his company to great success over the past few years.
“Coltraco exports an impressive 89% of its output to 117 countries around the world – 40% to Asia, 10% to the Middle East, 17% to the US and 15% to the EU. Nearly 17% of the world’s merchant fleet – that’s over 10,000 ships – and most leading navies, including our own Royal Navy, use Coltraco’s systems and products, along with over half the world’s offshore energy producers,” said Taylor.
Under Hunter’s leadership, Coltraco has also won the Queen’s Award for International Trade, recognising six continuous years of growth, and was named as one of the top 100 Best of British Innovators by Innovate UK.
“Yet Carl’s contribution goes far beyond the success of his own business – he has also become one of the Department for International Trade’s Export Champions and dedicated significant time and resources to facilitating dialogue between the government and SMEs,” Taylor said.
Moreover, he has supported four UK-USA SME dialogues, was appointed the 37th Commonwealth Business Mentor, and supports the UK diplomatic community to help increase bilateral trade as well as seven think tanks, including the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Social Justice and the Institute for International and Strategic Studies.
“Carl’s tireless efforts speaking at conferences, supporting think tanks and engaging stakeholders over many years is the reason why we are giving him this award for lifetime contribution to exports,” said Taylor.
Commemorating the efforts of the industry’s youth
The GTR-BExA Young Exporter Award, now in its 15th year, was awarded to Clare Hunter from Coltraco Ultrasonics (Carl Hunter’s daughter). Hunter leads Coltraco’s marketing and communications strategy and coordinates its global network. She has been working for Coltraco for eight years and has participated in helping it achieve a double in turnover in six years. “Clare is driven to push forward Coltraco’s global presence and exporting,” reads her nomination form.
Presenting Hunter with her award at the lunch, BExA co-Chair Geoffrey de Mowbray noted that the panel of judges had been impressed with the hard work that she has undertaken to drive forward Coltraco’s global presence and export strategy. “With her vast knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to developing Coltraco’s export business, it’s evident that her role goes far beyond her marketing and communications title. She is a terrific all-rounder with a true passion for export,” he said.
The winner of the GTR-BExA Young Export Financier award – new in 2019 – is Sapna Sapra from Deutsche Bank. Sapra joined Deutsche’s Structured Trade & Export Finance (STEF) team in 2013, was promoted to vice-president in early 2018, and is responsible for the origination, structuring and execution of export finance transactions backed by UKEF and other ECAs. “Sapna is one of the brightest young talents in the industry and this award would recognise her contribution to the market,” reads her nomination form.
“Sapna’s technical capabilities and knowledge of export finance are second to none,” said de Mowbray, who also remarked on the fact that she has worked with many export credit agencies across a wide geographic and product coverage. “Sapna shows great compassion for export finance, which is also evidenced in her role as a founding member of the Future of Export Finance (FEX) initiative,” he added.
Both of these awards were open to candidates aged 35 or under, and employed in the export or export finance department of a manufacturing, trading or financial services company registered in the UK.
Congratulations to all of the winners!