New Digital Trade Transformation Programme for SMEs released by CFTE, ICC, C4DTI, and IOE&IT

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London, UK – The Centre for Finance, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CFTE), and the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT), the official education partner for the ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) led Centre for Digital Trade and Innovation (C4DTI), housed within Teeside University, are proud to announce the launch of a new Digital Trade Transformation Programme for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). 

SMEs are the backbone of the global economy, driving growth and contributing more than 40% of national income. They represent about 90% of all businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. However, research shows that SMEs are in urgent need of digital infrastructure. As buyers, sellers, and intermediaries now rely on technologies that enable commerce at a speed, scale, and efficiency unimaginable just a few decades ago, it is crucial that SMEs have access to the education and training they need to participate in this digital economy.

“We see a crucial need for financial education to upskill local SMEs and global SMEs to scale their businesses in the digital economy. CFTE with its partners are working together to develop and deliver a complete educational programme to help businesses along their digitalisation journey, this course is designed to provide the education that guides and builds foundational digital skill capabilities for SMEs and other stakeholders new or unfamiliar with digital trade, so they can be enabled to engage and be onboarded to both the mindset and processes required for them to participate in ‘end to end’ digital trade” and we’re hopeful that it can support the whole ecosystem“

Tram Anh Nguyen, Co-founder at CFTE

“Educating and upskilling SMEs on the developments in the digitalization of trade is essential to ensuring businesses can maximize their capabilities in international markets. The IOE&IT, CFTE and our partners have designed this course to help businesses along their digitalization journey. Turning concepts into reality and empowering SMEs who are the backbone of the global economy to build capabilities in areas such as customs, logistics and Fintech in the process. This course will play a pivotal role in introducing new concepts on how to trade confidently and compliantly across the globe in a digital age“

Kevin Shakespeare, Director of Strategic Projects and International Development at the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT)

”Unless people and business can understand digital trade they cannot participate, and in the case of SMEs, the vast majority still have a digital literacy divide preventing them understanding potential of international markets and peer to peer trade. There have been many Free Trade Agreements established in the past few years but without training, and processes to make trade easier and understood, the exclude over 90% of the market. It is also vital to remember that over 50% of the capital required to attain carbon neutrality in our supply chains must be directed at SMEs and this requires inclusive opportunities, and education to de-risk and support SMEs to thrive. This Programme is key to these goals”

Professor Lisa Short, the CFTE Programme Director, Member of the C4DTI Legal Advisory Council and member of the UK Trade and Public Policy (TaPP) Network

“Effective end-to-end, cross-border digital trade requires alignment of technology and policy frameworks and many diverse actors are involved. It is important that the end users – the buyers and sellers – have access to the right training and educational resources to participate effectively. The launch of a new Digital Trade Transformation Programme aimed at SMEs will help to ensure these training needs are met. It is great to see the involvement of the University-based, ICC-led C4DTI partnering with CFTE and other key actors in this important initiative”

Professor Michael Short of Teesside University and a member of the UK Trade and Public Policy (TaPP) network

“Experience shows that the benefits of the creation of digital means of trading internationally will only be fully realised in the SME sector – itself a vital one for the global economy- if any digital system is easily accessible to and understood by those at the coal face of managing transactions and supply chains. The C4DTI is very happy to join its training partner, the IoEIT in supporting this initiative. Working together, we think there is a good opportunity for all of us to complement and leverage the work of each other”

Nick Davies, the Director for the  ICC Centre for Digital Trade & Innovation [C4DTI]

The programme is designed to address key research policy recommendations, including building SME digital capabilities, supporting supply chain resilience, easing access to export information, enhancing financing mechanisms, investing in digital infrastructure, simplifying trade processes, and developing a data governance and cybersecurity framework.

This programme is targeted at SMEs wanting to engage in digital trade and eCommerce, organisations wanting to increase their export and import profile and participate in international supply chains, innovators or new businesses entering new market and supply chain opportunities, government, authorities or stakeholders in the digital trade ecosystem requiring to upskill to new set of digital skills, and stakeholders or businesses in emerging markets requiring digital capabilities.

To conclude, this programme aims to provide the education and foundational digital skills that SMEs and other stakeholders new to digital trade need to participate in end-to-end digital trade and prepare them to further trade-specific skill areas such as customs, logistics, and Fintech. If you would like any more information about this, please do not hesitate to reach out.

About IOE&IT

IE & IT empowers organisations and equips individuals with the expertise to trade effectively, sustainably and competitively. The Institute was established over 85 years ago to support UK businesses in growing their international markets and trade. As a partner with the UK government, they deliver national and international programmes, acting as evangelists for the UK and establishing UK processes and standards globally.

About C4DTI

C4DTI is an ICC United Kingdom-led, global initiative based at Teesside University established with support from the Tees Valley Combined Authority. They are industry-led and government-supported, working with the ICC Digital Standards Initiative, governments, business groups, companies and international partners.

Its core mission is to accelerate the digitalisation of UK trade, the implementation of open systems based on common international standards and a digital trade system that is paperless, sustainable and secure

We provide an impartial environment in which industry and government can collaborate on practical pilot work to accelerate the pace and scale of digitalisation, ensure there is a consistent application of standards, rules and laws and increase the prospects for the adoption of digital trading processes in the future. We are agnostic to technology and advocate for open, interoperable systems

About ICC

ICC is the institutional representative of more than 45 million companies in over 100 countries. Through a unique mix of advocacy, solutions and standard setting, ICC promotes international trade, responsible business conduct and a global approach to regulation, in addition to providing market-leading dispute resolution services. Their members include many of the world’s leading companies, SMEs, business associations and local chambers of commerce.

About CFTE

CFTE is a global learning & innovation platform for the financial services industry. Founded in 2017, they developed 6 specialisations and created the on-demand learning platform for finance professionals and students. CFTE is a global community of over 15,000 learners and 200+ industry experts from over 100 countries. For more information about the Digital Trade Programme for SMEs, please visit the CFTE website.




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The Centre for Finance, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is a global education platform that aims to equip financial professionals and organisations with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry. Our leading training programmes, curated by global industry experts, help talent build skills to join the digital revolution in finance. CFTE’s courses are globally recognised with accreditations from ACT, IBF, CPD, SkillsFuture and ABS.

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You will be learning from a curated line-up of industry leaders, experts, and entrepreneurs hailing from Fortune 500 companies and Tech Unicorns, among others. They will each be presenting their knowledge and experience in the field of digital finance. No matter if you are embarking on a new journey or fortifying your role, these lecturers and guest experts will guide you through the perspective of established institutions like – Starling Bank, Wells Fargo, tech giants like – Google, IBM, successful startups such as – Kabbage or Plaid, among many more!