2012 is set to be a landmark year for Brand Britain.
In years to come, people will look back and say, "what a year", with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics, drawing millions of visitors and billions of viewers.
Once again the world's attention will turn to Britain and we should take full advantage to harness this international appetite.
British creativity and British entrepreneurialism are known around the world and that is something we should take enormous pride in. We've built some fantastic brands and for such a small island, we certainly punch way above our weight.
But in today's tough climate, individuality and innovation are more important than ever before. Small firms starting out need to find their niche in the market and they must execute their business plan with passion and determination. These are the core ingredients for success.
While many markets may already seem over-crowded, even in the most traditional of industries there is still ample space for innovation and growth.
The British food and drink industry is one such sector that continues to drive innovation. Our nation has a fine heritage of producing iconic food brands and it is an industry that we excel in. In recent years, brands like Innocent Drinks and Gu Puds have carved out their niche, becoming household names across the nation and overseas.
I started my business - Ella's Kitchen - six years ago to address a personal problem I was faced with - getting my daughter Ella to eat healthy food. I had an idea that we could make food fun for kids, that we could make it healthy and also convenient for parents. That was our unique selling point from the outset, and it remains so today.
Ella's Kitchen was named by Lord Green in a recent speech at the Food and Drink Federation President's dinner on April 17, 2012, in which he said the products signified the best of British manufacturing. He said: "I chose Ella's Kitchen because their products illustrate how even in the most traditional of industries you can find innovation."
It was a huge honour to hear our products singled out by Lord Green and it confirmed my belief that there is still an enormous amount that can be brought to the market.
In his speech Lord Green also stated that 8,500 new food and drink products were launched last year in the UK, while figures for last year showed a rise in exports in the food and drink industry of 11.4 per cent - the seventh consecutive year of growth.
With exports for this industry now standing in excess of £12bn, this is a sector that is playing a crucial role in driving economic growth in Britain. This is a sector that is constantly innovating and one that presents many opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs eager to build a brilliant brand. We have successfully built our Ella's Kitchen business in eight international markets and in the process won numerous international and export awards.
Britain needs an export boom now more than ever, as it strives to accelerate economic recovery and the food and drink industry is marking its territory as a pivotal player in the export game.
This industry is as diverse as ever - there are more choices on offer in supermarkets and restaurants than at any other time in history - and yet there is still plenty of room for newcomers.
This diversity is what makes Britain unique and we need entrepreneurs to not only bring their brands to market here, but also to export them globally, to help drive revenue and growth for the UK.
Our ambitions for Ella's Kitchen were always to go global and this is something that I believe other food manufacturers should replicate.
We have amazing food and drinks products in this country and I'm sure many more great brands still to come, so it is important that we encourage our emerging food brands to go global. Let's build on our success as a global leader and share our brands with the world.
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