The Government launches a New Digital Trade Hub to stimulate Exports

greatOf the 2.5 million businesses registered in the UK, an estimated 360,000 who have an exportable product or service mistakenly believe there isn’t a global demand for it.

The new digital trade hub,, was launched on 14th November and forms part of a push to help a further 100,000 more UK businesses export by 2020. Through e-exporting alone government intends to deliver an additional 20,000 online exporters and £2 billion worth of value to the UK economy by 2020.

The site will act as a single digital destination for trade and investment, bringing together and connecting UK businesses, international buyers and international investors. Whether businesses are new, occasional or frequent exporters, they will be able to take advantage of the new suite of tools and exclusive deals on fees or commissions with some of the world’s leading online marketplaces.

By registering, businesses will become part of a brand new searchable directory of UK exporters which government will use to match their products and services with worldwide demand.

Businesses will be able to access the best advice and financial support through from government, from public and private sector business champions, and from GREAT partners, all specifically designed to help them to grow and succeed through exports.

A Strong Voice for Minority Businesses

MSDUK members Dexo Technologies and es-p have been selected for the Government SME Advisory Panel.



The UK government recently formed advisory panel aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell to the government. The panel, made up of 24 entrepreneurs and leading business, will work with the government to ensure that the voice of SMEs is represented in the decision making process. Among the entrepreneurs, two members of the MSDUK network, Arnub Dutt, CEO of Dexo Technologies and Farooq Mohamed, Managing Director of the es-p Group, have been selected on the panel.

The government is making a greater effort to spend more with SMEs and the Cabinet Office has estimated that 27% of government’s procurement spending, or £12.1 billion, reached SMEs in 2014-15, surpassing its target of 25%. An even bigger target has been set by the government that aims to increase spending with SMEs to 33% by 2020.

Arnab Dutt CEO, Dexo Technologies said:

‘The Government has a target to ensure that SME businesses in the UK will receive 33% of central government procurement spending by 2020. It’s an ambitious target but achieving it will not only foster greater participation in the overall UK supply chain, but should also have a major social impact on communities throughout the UK’.

Increased government spending is welcomed news, as SMEs make a considerable contribution to the UK economy and account for over 99% of all private sector businesses. From an MSDUK prospective, having two of our members advising on government procurement spend is significant as the majority of our membership is composed of SMEs. Successful entrepreneurs Arnab Dutt and Farooq Mohamed understand the challenges faced by many ethnic minority businesses (EMBs); these are similar challenges faced by non-ethnic SMEs, the difference being a lack of inclusion and opportunity in private and public supply chains.

Farooq Mohamed, Managing Director of es-p Group said:

‘Wearing the twin hats of being an SME and MSDUK certified supplier/EMB committee member, I am keen to examine the Government’s approach (and spend) in relation to inclusive supply chains. Inclusivity is a key tenet of MSDUK and a principle we all hold dear as corporate and supplier members. However, this is not an area which is currently scrutinised and when we consider major Government infrastructure projects running through some of the most diverse areas of the country, like HS2, it becomes necessary to work with Government to ensure inclusivity within Supply Chains to reflect the wider communities within which they work/serve’.

While inclusive procurement has been embraced by private sector organisations in the UK, there is still considerable work to be done when it comes to opening up public sector supply chains. The government have taken a number of positive steps to reduce the barriers faced by SMEs when bidding for public sector work and have introduced initiatives such as ‘Contracts Finder’, an online portal for advertising government tenders; it has also removed pre-qualification questionnaires for low-value contracts. Furthermore, the introduction of the Social Value Act in 2012 requires consideration of wider social, economic and environmental benefits in procurement processes and is often thought to benefit SMEs and smaller suppliers. However, engagement with minority businesses regarding direct and indirect government spend remains very low. There is no data to suggest that minority owned businesses are being included in central government procurement opportunities or have been successful in obtaining government contracts. There are approximately 300,000 minority owned businesses that contribute around £25-32 billion every year to the UK economy and it is essential that they are included in central and local government supply chains and that their voice is heard by policy makers. Two MSDUK members being selected on the on the Government SME Advisory Panel is a good start, but more needs to be done.

Rachel Lee Appointed MSDUK Chair


MSDUK is delighted to announce the appointment of Rachel Lee, Director of Supply Chain Solutions EMEA at CBRE, as the new Chair. Rachel takes over the role from 1st January 2017 for a three year term.

Rachel brings with her over 30 years’ experience of business transformation and delivering bottom line impact through re-engineering supply chains, building supplier relationships & leading high performing teams. Throughout her career in procurement Rachel has worked in a number of industries including Facilities management, FMCG, Pharmaceutical, Retail, Manufacturing, Telecoms and IT.

Welcoming Rachel as she takes over the role of MSDUK Chair, Mayank Shah, CEO and Founder said, ‘We all are excited to have Rachel lead this organisation during this important period as we embark on an ambitious growth programme to expand our network of EMBs and corporate organisations and make inclusive procurement part of every corporate supply chain. Rachel’s vast experience in diverse industries and procurement and her visionary leadership will help cement MSDUK as the leader in supplier diversity within UK and Europe.’

Commenting on her appointment, Rachel said, ‘I am passionate about furthering the aims of MSDUK and welcome the opportunity to work alongside the management team and the other board members to drive significant change in this area. Throughout my career I have worked in a number of fast-growth organisations and have experience at implementing strategy to achieve organic growth and managing the change resulting from mergers and acquisitions, I look forward to bringing this experience into play in MSDUK’s next growth phase.

I strongly believe that to achieve anything in life and business it is essential to build strong relationships and this is the approach that I intend to continue with and I am confident that my approach and experience will enable me to make a positive and impactful contribution to MSDUK’.

Momentum Infrastructure demonstrates its commitment to supplier diversity

momentum-pngMomentum Infrastructure, comprising HOCHTIEF, Dragados and Galliford Try, has joined the MSDUK Network, the UK’s leading non-profit organisation driving inclusive procurement.

With a network of over 45 purchasing organisations, 500+ buyers and an extended community of more than 3,000 ethnic minority-owned businesses in both the private and public sectors, the MSDUK works to bring people together, share knowledge and build lasting mutually beneficial business partnerships. Momentum recognises the need to invest in building the capacity that the delivery of HS2 will require, and initial discussions between Momentum and MSDUK have identified that working together provides an efficient means of proactively engaging with the community to help develop a diverse supply chain, while creating long-term sustainable benefit.

David Blackburn, Managing Director of Momentum comments: “Momentum is excited to be working with MSDUK to ensure engagement of an inclusive, diverse team to successfully deliver HS2 and to create a positive lasting legacy for local communities.”

Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK, comments: “We are delighted to have Momentum Infrastructure as part of our growing network of corporations that are committing themselves to more inclusive supply chains. We look forward to working with the team at Momentum to help it in achieving its supplier diversity goals.”

About Momentum Infrastructure

Momentum Infrastructure is a joint venture composed of HOCHTIEF, Dragados and Galliford Try, three diverse and innovative contractors and engineering specialists. Representing a culmination of strong entrepreneurial spirit, Momentum is renowned for its expertise in developing, planning and executing unique and technically complex civil and infrastructure projects. The strength of Momentum is in the diversity of the combined expertise and engineering excellence, particularly with high-speed infrastructure projects, providing innovative solutions and construction methodology.

This unique partnership of specialist organisations is ideally placed to deliver the UK’s largest high-speed infrastructure project since the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, something that HOCHTIEF was also involved in delivering. Dragados has extensive experience of delivering projects for the Spanish high-speed rail network (the largest in Europe at 3,100km). This combined experience, has led to the joint award of the California High Speed Rail project to the HOCHTIEF/Dragados JV.

UK EMB Delegation Attending NMSDC Conference in Chicago

nmsdc7After the successful MSDUK conference in London, UK minority businesses have another great opportunity to interact with their counterparts and large purchasing organisations by attending the NMSDC Conference in Chicago USA.  The UK delegation of Ethnic Minority Business (EMBs) led by MSDUK will be taking part in what is the biggest event dedicated to the development and support of ethnic minority businesses this calendar year.

The NMSDC Conference attracts, more than 6,000 corporate CEOs, procurement executives and supplier diversity professionals from the top multinational companies, as well as leading Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business owners and international organizations.

The UK delegation will be represented by a number of innovative EMBs’ and corporate members’ part of the MSDUK network and they will be attending the NMSDC Annual Conference on the 22nd – 26th October 2016.

MSDUK is proud to be part of NMSDC’s network of affiliate organisation and continues to work with global and British corporations in making supply chain diversity and inclusion part of their everyday business. In today’s interconnected world of business and commerce, minority businesses have even greater opportunities to grow faster and become global business leaders.

Over the last eight years MSDUK has become central to the growth and success of EMBs in the UK, connecting them to a comprehensive supply chain ecosystem, supporting them in their business and personal development through educational and mentoring programmes, and promoting B2B collaboration both nationally and internationally.

The UK Delegation and the individual EMBs that are part of it aspire to expand their business globally and are looking for partners and clients not only in the US but across NMSDC’s affiliated countries like Canada, South Africa, China and Australia.

Visit MSDUK and the UK Delegation at Booth 2016 at the Business Opportunity Exchange.

MSDUK launches MSD – Europe in an effort to expand opportunity for minority businesses across the Continent

picture-80-latestThe launch of MSD – Europe during the MSDUK 2016 Conference provided one of the many highlights of the three day Conference held in London this September. However, its importance is even greater when taking into consideration what this project aims to achieve and the challenges it has to overcome to become a success. MSD – Europe has often been discussed by various stakeholders that are part of the MSDUK network, the leading non-profit membership organisation driving inclusive procurement in the UK, and has been has been a lifelong ambition of MSDUK Founder and CEO Mayank Shah: ‘Since the inception of MSDUK I have always looked towards Europe with the hope of extending more opportunities to those minority/migrant businesses operating in various European countries and advocating the benefits of inclusive procurement supply chains’.

As Mayank points out, the challenge for expanding into Europe has always been in identifying the right country to start the process. This is because different EU countries compared to the UK have different definitions on ethnicity, and in some, ethnic minorities are not recognised as existing groups. A clear example of this is France which under its egalitarian beliefs treats all citizens the same, refusing to group them into ethnic categories.

For MSD – Europe to become successful in its support of minority businesses it was important that it operated in a country that has embraced multiculturalism and recognises the existence and contribution of its ethnic minority/migrant population and the obvious place to start was Germany. Not only is Germany Europe’s economic powerhouse but it also has a large migrant population that is still growing as a result of the latest wave of immigrants coming into Germany over the last 18 months. Furthermore the country has had a substantial increase in migrant enterprises from 200,000 in the 1990s to 760,000 in 2013. In 2015, of the total number of new businesses, 20% were created by migrants. We believe that MSD – Europe will drive the way for economic and social integration of migrant communities in the country.

MSD – Europe will replicate the work done by MSDUK in Britain in supporting the development of ethnic minority/migrant businesses and entrepreneurs by opening new opportunities and connecting them to large purchasing organisations thus promoting supply chain inclusiveness and diversity. Mayank Shah, CEO of MSDUK says that ‘Germany is only the starting point and our aim is to expand into other European countries within a number of years. We have already started to look towards Ireland and the Nordic countries’.

As population demographics change, EU countries will become more ethnically diverse in the future and today’s majority ethnic groups will no longer comprise a numerical superiority thus is important that ethnic minorities have a stake in the societies they settle. This can be achieved through economic empowerment by providing opportunities for minority/ migrant businesses across the continent and this is what MSD – Europe aims to achieve.

MSDUK celebrating 10 years of diversity within business

Over 300 guests and hundreds of purchasing organisations from across the world came together to represent and promote the ethnic minority business community at the MSDUK 2016 Awards.

Overlooking the iconic Tower Bridge, the gala ceremony took place at the Grange Tower Bridge with a global audience who reflected how societies, countries and economies around the world are built by people from different backgrounds, cultures and origins working together.

The MSDUK awards honoured and recognised individuals who have shown great passion and belief in ethnic minority businesses by becoming true partners in their success and growth. The awards also celebrated the best of British ethnic minority entrepreneurs who have embraced innovation, achieved consistent growth and are doing this with a responsibility towards society and the environment.

Leading the way this year were women and entrepreneurs who started their journey outside Britain’s business capital – in smaller cities such as Bolton and Leicester.

After winning the Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year (2010) and the Director of the Year for Glasgow and West Scotland (2009) by the Institute of Directors, Dr Rabinder Buttar, CEO of ClinTec International, won the Scale Up Business of the year – showing inspirational growth.

awards-clintecOn winning the award Dr Buttar said: “I am thrilled to accept this prestigious award on behalf of ClinTec International in recognition of our ongoing expansion both in service lines and in geographical reach. As founder of the organisation, I have always believed that success comes from the early recognition of what our clients want rather than what they are currently requesting for, and then having the courage to build my company along those lines. This award endorses that approach and also recognises the major contributions made by ClinTec’s management team and staff towards our future success. This endorsement puts our achievements on the map and enhances our reputation with current and future clients.”

awards-bri-tekGiving non-London businesses a voice and recognition, Britek shows that it doesn’t matter if you are in the city of London or not to make it big, all it takes is an innovative idea and determination. From humble roots in Bolton, Britek won the MSDUK Innovation Awards. Managing Director, Mo Hanslod said: “Winning means acknowledging that we have a world class commercially viable innovation that we achieved through the vision, passion and hard work of every employee in Bri-Tek. This has given a huge boost to brand recognition and credibility in the corporate world.”

awards-clifton-packaginWith one of the largest ethnic minority populations in the UK, it comes as no surprise that Leicester’s Shahid Shaikh won the Entrepreneur of the Year for the stupendous success he has achieved with Clifton Packaging.

“Winning the Entrepreneurs Award means the world to me. I strive to do my best and be the best that I can be each and every day, but to be awarded this accolade from my peers is particularly special,” said Mr Shaikh.

It is not just ethnic minority businesses, but corporates who encourage and understand the value these businesses add to the supply chain and hence deserve to be recognised. This is why the MSDUK Corporation of the Year and the Inclusive Procurement of the Year awards went to Cummins and Balfour Beatty respectively.

awards-corporation-of-the-yearUpon winning, Denis Ford, Corporate Indirect Purchasing Leader EMEA, NE/SE Asia & South Pacific said: “Cummins is dedicated to working with diverse suppliers that best deliver excellent products and services to our customers. Through our Cummins Diversity Procurement Initiative, our goal is to increase purchasing opportunities with new and existing diverse suppliers by developing and engaging with them. Winning Corporation of the Year Award will further enhance our credibility in this area and will go a long way in increasing awareness about Ethnic Minority Businesses, corporate peers and the procurement industry in general.”

awards-balfour-beatyEchoing his views, spokesperson from Balfour Beatty said: “Balfour Beatty is delighted to have won the Inclusive Procurement award for 2016. This is a fantastic recognition for the commitment we’ve made to SME and minority owned business in the UK and all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Winning the award tells us that we are on the right track when it comes to embedding a more inclusive approach to procurement throughout our business. We hope to inspire other businesses to adopt a similar approach and that the award and our approach to inclusivity will encourage more small and minority owned businesses to work with Balfour Beatty.”

The award ceremony was hosted by actress, author and journalist Meera Syal, with a keynote address by Mark Q McLane, Managing Director Diversity & Inclusion, Barclays Plc and Ade Adepitan MBE, British Television Presenter and Wheelchair Basketball Player gave an inspiring insight into diversity.

Real Opportunities For a Truly Inclusive Supply Chain

An inclusive approach to sourcing brings innovation, positive disruptive new products and services, can mitigate risks within your supply chain, drives competitive advantage and removes all biases, making procurement transparent and sustainable. This blog by Mayank Shah, CEO, MSDUK explores the lessons from the last 10 years helping large organisations make their supply chains more inclusive.

Read More