The World Bank Group Business Opportunities Fair ran from the 28-31st of October 2019. The World Bank is an international finance institution that provides support to projects helping to end extreme poverty and fosters income growth for the bottom 40% of each country. It does this by providing loans and grants to governments of poorer countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects. The World Bank currently invests $10bn and has plans to greatly increase this to $100bn in the coming years.
The North of England was well represented at the event with an informal delegation of British companies including consultancies, engineering procurement and construction companies power equipment suppliers such as Clarke Energy.
The UK is one of the top 3 largest donor countries to the World Bank, however it's clear that UK consultancies could perform better in securing funds from the World bank to deliver projects in the developing world. Currently the UK is not in the list of the World Bank's top ten countries for securing funds for consultancy. There are massive opportunities for consultancy with the World Bank with "over 80,000 opportunities" currently listed.
From a sustainable energy perspective the bank is actively supporting renewable energy projects, energy storage and gas fuelled grid balancing or gas based energy efficiency projects.
For more information on the World Bank there are comprehensive guides to their services on the World Bank website.
The Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme has hit 300 members. Clarke Energy has used this milestone to highlight the company's successful in-house apprenticeships scheme. The scheme has over 20 years track record and is used to train future employees in the necessary electrical and mechanical skills, along with Jenbacher technology specific information.
Many company's in the engineering and service sectors recognise the difficulty in recruiting skilled employees at the correct technical and professional standards. Clarke Energy's apprenticeships scheme is designed to transfer skills and knowledge to the next generation of gas engine engineers and equip them for the future, in parallel supporting the business' needs.
The scheme is so successful that over 10% of the current UK workforce are either apprentices or alumni of the scheme.
I received a fantastic opportunity this week to participate in BBC Mersyside's Tony Snell breakfast session. I was able to share experience of Clarke Energy's Knowsley-based operations. The invitation originated from Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, with BBC Merseyside seeking to understand more about what businesses do in the local area. I was able to discuss international business and gas engine technology.
Coincidentally the discussion previously revolved around the recent power outages in the UK and questions regarding national power grid stability. I was able to highlight just how gas-based peaking stations being designed in the Liverpool City Region can help support the stablity of the grid. This will become more and more important as the grid moves towards greater intermittent renewable power.
You can listen to a recording of the interview here with the discussions starting at 19.00 and 25.40 respectively.
I am pleased to represent Clarke Energy with the UK's Department for International Trade as a Northern Powerhouse Export Champion. My voluntary work supporting the UK's government to help develop our country's exports started in 2014 with what was then the United Kingdom Trade and Investment organisation. The Export Champions scheme was originally the brainchild of the UKTI's Northwest regional operations. The success of which, in enlisting other experienced exporters and businesses to help nurture new exporters and assist them on their 'export journey'.
Through my work at Clarke Energy and also in previous positions such as my board role at Oaktech Environmental, I am lucky enough to have experienced trading across numerous countries and continents. I have a focus on renewable energy, biogas and waste treatment technologies which are important to me, both professionally and personally. With the growth in the global population and the current unsustainable position with respect to resources and energy, it is important to me that we leave the planet in a better state than we entered it. To support this goal, being invited to speak on the UK Pavilion during the United Nations COP23 (Bonn) and COP24 (Katowice) climate change conferences on the potential of biogas, microgrids and peaking stations to decarbonise the global power network have been particularly important opportunities to get our message across on a global stage.
The work supporting the UK's Department for International Trade has brought some fantastic opportunities, including joining the then Prime Minister Theresa May's trade delegation to the African continent in 2018, visiting Cape Town in South Africa, Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria and Nairobi in Kenya.
The UKTI invited Clarke Energy to join the UK Pavilion at the 2016 International Festival for Business in Liverpool. We created a movie highlighting the business's international operations focusing on Commonwealth nations. On the first day I was informed a VVIP would be visiting the pavilion. The following day I was over-awed that it would HM Queen Elizabeth II and she was personally introduced to me along with Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh.
During the opening of the first 2014 International Festival for Business I was also given a great opportunity to deliver one of the first questions to Prime Minister David Cameron. Specifically I asked what the UK's government's plans were to improve trading relations with the African continent?
The Northwest Export Champions were also given two opportunities to discuss key elements impacting upon international trade with Chancellor George Osborne.
Most recently in this week in August 2019, we were provided with a letter from incoming Secretary of State for International Trade expressing her "personal gratitude" to the 300 current Export Champions. As someone who has put a significant amount of input into this initiative it's encouraging that one thing which seems to unite politicians currently is the importance of international trade in the future prosperity of the country and world.
I would personally like to thank the Department for International Trade for providing these fantastic once in a lifetime opportunities.
If I can provide you or your organisation with any export support please contact me here.
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