Tea-blending entrepreneur Alex Probyn represented Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce at a round table meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron last week.
Alex, Managing Director of Blends for Friends, a bespoke tea blending business based in Shoreham, near Sevenoaks, was invited to 10 Downing Street on Thursday, May 2, to help provide real life evidence of the international trade and export-related challenges faced by British businesses.
The 37-year-old was joined at the meeting by representatives from 13 other Chambers of Commerce across the UK and a number of senior government officials, including Business Secretary Vince Cable and UK Trade & Investment executives.
Alex said: “During the meeting it became apparent that the day-to-day issues I face in building my exports are the same faced by businesses of all shapes and sizes across the UK. We are all looking for finance and business support to realise this overseas growth.
“Mr Cameron sought an honest and frank discussion, which I felt it was, so I hope he and his officials really listened to what we had to say.”
Alex said he had jumped at the opportunity provided by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce to venture behind the black door of No 10.
“It’s like a Tardis – much bigger inside than it looks like from the front door,” he said. “Before the meeting we found ourselves standing in front of the portraits of all the former Prime Ministers. I looked at the portrait behind me and saw that I was face to face with Earl Grey, which I thought was rather fitting given my occupation.
“It was a great experience so I’d like to thank the Chamber for putting me forward as its representative.”
Jo James, Chief Executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, said: “With the delivery of economic growth and job creation becoming a more pressing issue nationally, it is encouraging to see the Government engage with businesses across the UK for viable, tangible solutions.
“We recognise that developing overseas trade can often lead to significant business growth, which is why we provide our members with assistance in building such vital links with businesses across the globe. As such, we applaud the Government’s efforts to listen to the concerns and issues of existing and potential exporting businesses.
“Any forthcoming government scheme or initiative that leads to an increase in Kent and UK exports would be welcomed by the Chamber.”