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First Welsh Export Champions Announced by Department for International Trade  

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The Department for International Trade (DIT) has announced eight leading business figures as the first Export Champions for Wales.  

Between them they represent key sectors for the Welsh economy, including food and drink, FinTech and manufacturing.

Having taken on these voluntary roles, each Champion will help DIT promote the benefits of exporting and encourage other companies across Wales to consider selling to overseas markets.

This will be done through participating in DIT events, sharing their exporting stories with those in their sector, and providing advice to other businesses about how to break into new markets abroad.

Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said:   

“Export Champions offer real-world expertise to businesses looking to take their first steps as exporters.

“We know exporters create jobs, pay higher wages and help grow our economy, and Welsh businesses are playing a key part in making the UK an export-led economy.

“There is global demand for Welsh goods and services, and I am determined that we connect more Welsh businesses to new opportunities available in markets across the world.”

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies said: 

“The eight Export Champions represent the best of Welsh business and have a huge amount of expertise to offer others who want to export to different markets.

“Welsh companies operating in areas like financial services, manufacturing and, of course, our famous food and drink are hugely successful exporters, and we want to support more businesses to take Welsh goods and services across the world.”

The Export Champion community was introduced as a direct response to calls from businesses for peer-to-peer exporting support.

Each Champion has been selected because they have a successful international trade track record, have a good story to tell about how exporting makes a positive difference to a company, and want to share their knowledge and experience with others.

One of the new Welsh Export Champions is Kamal Ali, founder of Newport-based manufacturer My Salah Mat, who export interactive prayer mats to help Muslim children learn how to pray correctly.

My Salah Mat has been working with DIT over the past year to help reach new markets and sell their interactive prayer mat into as many countries as possible. These efforts saw them selected as finalists for the ‘Global business of the year Award’ at the Wales Business Awards 2022.

Kamal Ali, founder of My Salah Mat and new Export Champion said:   

“Exporting has opened up markets and opportunities that have enabled My Salah Mat to grow year on year even with the difficult economic situations. I highly recommend companies to look into exporting opportunities and what positive impact that can have on their business.

“I fly the flag for Wales wherever I travel, and I can’t wait to do this as an Export Champion and help promote all that Wales has to offer.”

Paola Dyboski has also been appointed as an Export Champion after founding Bangor-based Dr Zigs. The company is the leader in eco-friendly and child-safe bubble products in the UK. They recently launched in South Korea, Australia and the US and now sell to over 20 countries worldwide.

Paolo Dyborski-Bryant, founder of Dr Zigs Extraordinary Bubbles said: 

“Since starting our company on our kitchen table, we’ve really grown over the past few years. We began by shipping to countries in Europe, we’re now selling our bubbles across the globe.

“We see ourselves as an international company working in Wales, and there’s no reason other companies can’t follow the path we’ve taken. I’m looking forward to speaking to other businesses in Wales and guiding them on their export journey.”

Cardiff-based Yoello's payment solutions are used in the US and Spain as an all-in-one payment solution for restaurants and cafes. The company is rapidly entering new markets and over 80% of their sales are overseas.

In addition to their CEO Sina Yamani being appointed as an Export Champion, Yoello have also been chosen as a Fintech Champion. The Fintech Champions scheme was established by DIT last year as a way of better supporting the UK Fintech industry. Yoello will work alongside other industry leaders to elevate Wales and the UK’s status as a global Fintech hub.

Yoello Founder & CEO, Sina Yamani said:  

“We know from our own experience what a great place Wales is for starting and growing a Fintech company. We’ve seen huge growth in recent years thanks to exporting and are keen to share our experience and expertise with others who are thinking of investing in Wales.

“The Champions programme is a great way of doing this, and we look forward to speaking to other companies across Wales in the coming weeks and months to support them.”