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Interns go international to become part of UK's global export drive

A new export support business is being launched by two Leeds University graduates after completing internships at overseas trade specialist Chamber International.


Zainab Atia and Zixin Zhang, who have management consulting degrees, will apply innovative research they developed during their six-week internship to help businesses understand if they can qualify for specialist export support to help fast-track their overseas sales.

Many export support organisations in the UK and overseas have well-defined criteria, which businesses must meet before they can qualify for specialist help in accessing overseas markets.

As well as directing successful enterprises towards the right organisations to help them, the research and screening by Zainab Atia and Zixin Zhang will help businesses that do not qualify immediately understand what they must do to qualify in future.

During their internship, Zainab Atia and Zixin – also known as Wendy – applied their techniques to refine a list of hundreds of SMEs on the Chamber International database to a final selection of 10, now set to receive fast-track specialist support in starting, or enhancing, their exports to Dubai and China.

The research involved analysing businesses based on their turnover, location, size, product, or service, expertise and business sector and interviewing owner managers or directors who want to improve their export performance.

As a result of their initial research, six exporters to Dubai, were selected for face-to-face meetings with the chief executive of the British Centre for Business (BCB), Dubai, Joe Hepworth, who was on a 36-hour UK business trip and spent a day at Chamber International to assess their potential for specialist support through BCB with which Chamber International launched a formal partnership in 2018.

A further four companies were identified to gain help with strengthening their exporting to China through Chamber International’s China specialist, Matthew Grandage, and may gain help including adding Chinese content to their websites, or addressing issues in their distributors' marketing.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “Chamber International has a long history of providing internship opportunities to help give impressive, bright young people support with their careers so they can learn about some aspects of international trade.

“Zainab and Wendy brought fresh ideas and a sound analytical approach to researching client businesses and identifying market opportunities which look set to prove valuable for all those involved.”

Chamber International helps hundreds of new and experienced exporters throughout the UK with a wide range of specialist services to make exporting easier and more cost effective.

Related campaign:

PD Ports Northern Powerhouse Export Awards, in association with HSBC and the Department for International Trade, seeks to recognise the most entrepreneurial exporters from across the North of England.

For more info visit

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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