Coping with new exporting rules and help for student entrepreneurs

We are nearly at the end of our first month of life outside EU rules and regulations and I am sure you are all aware from the news what a stressful time it has been for anyone involved in the movement of goods between the UK and the EU.

As a chamber offering a Customs Declaration Service, we are a part of the ChamberCustoms network, a subsidiary of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

As soon as we knew what the new customs regulation requirements were, we had four members of staff trained to process the paperwork. The four are now fully BCC accredited and are working to process the required paperwork for our exporters.

The team are working seven days a week to clear the goods through our ports and, to the end of last week, Staffordshire Chambers was ranked third nationally by number of customs transactions in the chambers’ network. Incredible when you think of the size of other city and regional chambers.

I am extremely proud of our international trade team headed up by Rob Lawley. They are here for our exporters, not just processing paperwork but offering advice, guidance, and training to ensure our exporters get through this tough transitional period and continue to grow trading relationships with EU member states. For all export enquiries visit or call 01782 202222

Much of the Chambers’ work centres around enabling people to start their own business.

Now, Staffordshire students in further education are also set to discover their inner entrepreneur through a brand-new programme aimed at helping them make the move to self-employment.

The Ignite Programme, delivered by the Chambers and funded by Staffordshire County Council, is a new programme of free advice, workshops mentoring and support for post-18 FE students looking to set up their own business. It has launched at Burton and South Derbyshire College, Leek and Buxton College, Newcastle and Stafford College Group and South Staffordshire College.

Economic downturns lead to particularly large increases in unemployment for young people and the Coronavirus pandemic is no exception. It has already hit hard in the retail and hospitality sectors which traditionally employ younger people.

The aim of the programme is to make sure that young people in the final year of further education, who aspire to starting up on their own, are provided the support they need to make their new business a success. It will help develop entrepreneurial thinking, alongside existing studies, and thus open self-employment opportunities.

The programme will cover; business basics (company formations, taxation, VAT etc); business planning; marketing planning; developing networking and sales skills and business finances (basic cashflow forecasting and funding).

Sessions will be delivered by the Chamber’s experienced business start-up advisers, virtually or in college settings dependent on restrictions. All participants will also have access to mentors from a range of backgrounds, many under the age of 30 who have started, and are successfully running their own businesses, and a new online platform designed to help deliver the modules.

If you know any young person who would benefit from the Ignite programme, please pass on this information. More information from Tom Nadin, or call 01782 202222.

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email:

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