Bird & Bird hosted an industry briefing in London, in association with Food Matters Live, supported by the Food and Drink Exporters Association (UKFDEA) and sponsored by Santander, on Thursday 30th March which will looked at how food & drink businesses can scale up their exports to deliver business growth.


Presentation downloads:

Scaling up your exports

Nicola Thomas, Director Food & Drink Exportese - UKFDEA


Assisting Growth Amibitions - Santander's International Connectivity

Andrew Williams, UK Business Development Director, Santander Corporate Banking (Food & Drink Sector)


Eat Natural - Our export journey

Praveen Vijh, Founder, Eat Natural

Praveen Vijh, Founder, Eat Natural

Praveen Vijh founded Eat Natural 20 years ago with best friend Preet Grewal.

They set out to find a gap in the confectionery market and after many attempts with bowls, rolling pins, and even a cement mixer they finally created the recipe for Eat Natural that is still enjoyed today, in 25 countries around the world.

Praveen’s natural habitat is a coffee shop, where you will find him reading books or magazines such as Noble Rot and Kinfolk, trying to look cool and be down with the kids.

Nicola Thomas, Director, Food & Drink Exportese - UKFDEA

Nicola is passionate about helping UK food and drink manufacturers to build sustainable and profitable sales overseas: she works with business owners and management teams to tackle the "pain points" they encounter as they develop their exports, including finding and managing best-fit in-market partners, lack of resources and getting set up internally.

As a languages graduate wanting to combine a love of travel and eating, she has spent her career building international sales networks.  For the last 10 years she has been an industry coach, mentor and adviser, helping manufacturers develop and implement their export plans and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed in overseas markets. 

Nicola is a Director of Food & Drink Exportese which manages the UK Food & Drink Exporters Association.  They provide practical support for new and experienced exporters, including skills workshops, overseas trade missions and international market development programmes.

Dr Mark Abell, Partner, Head of Retail & Consumer, Bird & Bird

Mark is the global head of Bird & Bird's Franchising, Licensing and Multi-Channel Strategies team and head of the Retail & Consumer Sector. Over the last 34 years he has constantly advised a wide range of household names, particularly in the retail and food & beverage sectors, on the development and implementation of their international expansion strategies and the corresponding re-engineering of their businesses.

Having written his doctoral thesis on "The Law and Regulation of Franchising in the EU", Mark has acted as an expert to the WIPO and WTO on franchising and is co-editor of the world's leading legal periodical in his field of practice, "The International Journal of Franchising Law".

Mark is currently advising the EU Parliament on its initiative to amend the regulation of franchising in the EU and is the author of its Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee’s publication “Legal Perspective of the Regulatory Framework and Challenges for Franchising in the EU”.

Andrew Williams, UK Business Development Director, Santander Corporate Banking (Food & Drink Sector)

Andrew has worked in the Banking industry for 30 years, where he spent the majority of this time with the Lloyds Banking Group and joined Santander UK four years ago.

His experience spans many sectors, where he has specialised in the Food & Drink arena over the last 7 years, assisting businesses with their growth ambitions in the UK and overseas. Andrew currently leads Business Development initiatives nationally, working closely with manufacturing companies, Santander Regional teams, Trade organisations and Government departments.

His aim is to see Santander continue to develop and build strong relationships within the sector, supporting companies with their individual strategies.

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