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Young Exporter of the Year Award 2022

Original Article - Global Trade Review

Young BExA-GTR award winners “driving huge change” for exports

Ronan Finnegan and Harry Kimberley-Bowen, co-founders of wearable technology company spacebands, are the winners of the 16th BExA-GTR Young Exporter of the Year Award 2022, while Mathew Enright, vice-president, trade and export finance structuring at Barclays, is this year’s Young Export Financier.

“It’s been truly inspiring to meet a group of young exporters and export enablers who are driving huge change within the export market and who are passionate about doing so,”

says Geoff de Mowbray, British Exporters Association (BExA) vice-president and a member of the judging panel.

“We heartily congratulate our winners, who play an essential role in making exports happen,”

he adds.

The Young Exporter Awards reward candidates aged 35 and under who have been pivotal in winning or closing financing of a significant order or achieving a series of smaller orders, or in establishing a new business process which has led to increased export competitiveness.

The Young Export Financier of the Year category was introduced in 2019 “to recognise the market’s export ‘enablers’”, de Mowbray says.

Finnegan and Kimberley-Bowen co-founded and built one of the UK’s fastest-growing wearable companies, BExA says.

“It is such a privilege to have won this prestigious award. It’s sometimes hard when running a busy business to step back and be grateful for all that we have achieved, so it was great to sit in the Mansion House last week and receive this honour,”

says Finnegan, speaking to GTR.

The spacebands wrist-worn device and platform aim to prevent workplace injuries, help employers reduce staff sickness and monitor workplace safety via a multi-feature hazard alert system.

The company shifted its focus to the wider health and workplace safety sector earlier this year after initially developing wearable contact tracing devices to help users socially distance.

“We’re so excited about the new product that we are building – we are very confident that it will stop accidents from happening at work and inevitably save the lives of the British workforce as a result,”

Finnegan adds.

Meanwhile, Enright leads the team at Barclays responsible for export credit agency-backed activities. He rolled out the bank’s first export working capital scheme loan to support a large export order for an SME client. He also initiated the team’s ongoing relationship with UK Export Finance (UKEF).

“Supporting the export financing needs of UK businesses is an interesting and rewarding challenge, and one I am grateful to have been recognised for. I’ve been lucky to work with a range of different exporters during my time at Barclays, and I’ve seen first-hand how organisations like BExA help bring together the expertise needed within the sector,”

Enright tells GTR.

“I’m looking forward to working with BExA and the wider industry to ensure we bring through the next generation of exporters, financers, lawyers, insurers and everyone else needed to enable UK exporting to flourish.”

Enright has been instrumental in designing UKEF’s new schemes, its general export facility and export development guarantee. He was also a fundamental member of the deal team that closed Barclays’ first participation in a buyer credit facility for several years, supporting more than £1bn of export contracts for two key UK exporters.

BExA congratulated both the winners and the “shortlist of incredibly impressive candidates who were interviewed by the judging panel”.

Finnegan and Enright were presented with their award at the BExA Annual Lunch, held at the Mansion House, City of London, on October 19.

Image: From left to right: Ronan Finnegan (joint winner, Young Exporter of the Year/spacebands), Baroness Elizabeth Symons (BExA president), Carl Hunter (BExA chair), Mathew Enright (winner, Young Export Financier of the Year/Barclays)

Dan Bayliss, spacebands' Marketing Manager

Dan Bayliss

Head of Marketing

Dan enjoys reading, listening to and playing music, gaming and visiting new places.

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