Members & Friends hello,

Remember, Remember – the 5th of November! Final call and closing date for the British International Awards 2019 entries. The ten categories have been designed to be inclusive of the wide range of sectors and disciplines our members cover and the online application form is simple and easy. If you have any questions, please call/email Melina or me as soon as you can. Thank you to those that have submitted already and good luck to all.

Grafton Street has been busy this week with a number of very well attended events. While conversation and debate continues to reference Brexit, we have had something of a break from the monopolisation of late.

The Middle East Access Group (MEAG) held a lunch with HE Mr Sulaiman Hamid Almazoui, Ambassador from UAE on Tuesday. HE was on great form and talked us through the wonderful opportunities in the UAE – the tallest building, wonderful weather, the Louvres and the beach. Where else can you find this in such a confined area? There are 440 flights a week from the UK to UAE and there were 25 million visitors in the last 6 months. There is also a Regional market of 2 billion people. He said that there is a great partnership with the UK and plans to grow the trade from £17.5 Billion to £25 Billion by 2020. The bottom line is that the UAE is open for business and we are here to assist.

On Wednesday, we hosted an engaging discussion with Nick Dyer, DFID’s Director General for Economic Development & International and Acting Director General, Policy, Research & Humanitarian. In line with DFID’s current narrative on UK PLC’s role in development, Nick provided some insights into DFID’s future thinking and direction. The discussion centred around how UK plc can leverage development funding to close the SDGs funding gap and deliver development to meet the SDG targets. A key takeaway from the lively discussion was that development cannot happen without the private sector, and what’s required is understanding how to unlock UK plc capabilities to deliver development.

Yesterday during an unusually heavy rainfall Anne Milton, Minister of State for Skills and Apprenticeships visited us. She led a refreshingly open, honest discussion followed by a Q&A session that left the audience feeling very positive about the future of UK’s Apprenticeship programme. Anne Milton emphasised the government’s commitment to boosting productivity by investing in human capital and as part of this, increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships and business engagement with FE colleges.

Please keep those entries coming in and have a great weekend.

Best wishes,


Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International

Event highlights:

Wednesday 7th November – D Group Dinner
Transforming business models with Blockchain
Andrew Wheen, Principal Communications Consultant, Mott Macdonald

Tuesday 13th November – MEAG Reception
Middle East Access Group Networking Reception
Franck Gardner OBE, BBC Security Correspondent

Thursday 15th November – D Group Lunch
Improving the living standards of the poorest and most disadvantaged in society – the Conservative strategy
The Rt Hon Esther McVey MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions