A former senior trade officer with UK Trade & Investment, the arm of the UK Government that helps UK businesses trade overseas (which was renamed the department for International Trade in 2016), has launched a new business in Swansea designed to leverage his experience to help businesses seeking global growth.
Malek Kashkara, managing director of Kash Global, spent 10 years at UK Trade & Investment based in multiple locations across the Middle East. He also spent two years in a similar role for the equivalent body in Canada, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
After completing a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Wales Trinity St David, in Swansea, Kashkara has decided to stay and build a business around his expertise targeting UK and international businesses with special interest in Welsh SMEs.
He explains that as part of his dissertation for the MBA, he examined the levels of international business development in Wales. He discovered that, while the levels of interest in international expansion among Welsh companies was high, internationalisation in Wales was not matched by the potential of Welsh SMEs in global markets and available support was not fully utilised to tap on international opportunities.
“That showed me that there was a gap in the market for my particular skillset. Businesses in Wales have a lot to offer the world but there can be that sense of walking into the unknown or even knowing where to start. With my experience and connections, I can help businesses.”
His career involved nurturing synergy among international players including European, American and Middle Eastern. Kashkara says he can help businesses penetrate global markets by helping them identify market opportunities and establishing effective strategic directions.
He is already working with several notable companies in South Wales including helping a beverages company market its produce globally and he is helping source special materials from Asian markets for another company.
He stresses that any market has nuances and unique differences that businesses should be aware of if they are to succeed overseas.
“In the Middle East, for instance, business people put great emphasis on face to face contact and meetings.
“I would recommend investing time in developing cultural awareness of target markets and understanding basic business practices in such markets. Identification of appropriate entry methods and local partners in overseas markets is also key for global excellence.”