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Business aims to further support Welsh SME growth overseas

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Cornerstone International has unveiled a package of financial and non-financial support to help Welsh SME’s break into and further their growth in international markets.

Since launching to the market late last year, Cardiff-based Cornerstone Finance Group, has been building a family of international solution providers to benefit Welsh SME’s with access to both investment and expertise to support them to trade internationally.

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The group includes Institute of Export, UK Export Finance, Department for International Trade, Equals Group PLC, Ultimate Finance, CFP International and UK subsidiaries of international banks, including Sonali Bank, Zenith Bank UK, and State Bank of India.

The investment by Cornerstone International is working to increase Welsh GDP and job creation, whilst allowing businesses to benefit from a one-stop solution which facilitates the financial and non-financial support required to break into international markets.

According to the latest Welsh Government figures* (to March 2022), whilst the value of goods exports for Wales was up £4.1 billion to £16.6 billion compared to the year ending March 2021, compared to the year ending March 2020 (pre-pandemic), goods exports for Wales were down £0.6 billion (3.4%).

Mark Collings, Director of Cornerstone International, has over 30 years’ experience having worked in international trade for some of the UK’s largest banks and institutions.

He said Cornerstone International’s offering is unique in supporting business growth: “The figures on exports from Wales speak for themselves and there is more to be done to support the growth of the Welsh economy. From the outset we have been clear that we want to help address the vast gaps in the market. SME’s are finding it harder to access local expertise and financial support from the traditional routes of high street banks especially surrounding their international business needs.

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“At Cornerstone International we have worked hard to build this support network, which includes specialised banks and institutions to provide both financial and non-financial help. This, coupled with our in-house expertise, will help Welsh SME’s and the Welsh economy, to grow at a time that is pivotal.”

A part of the Cornerstone International solution also allows businesses to also benefit from hassle-free international payments through its partnership with Equals Money.

One company to benefit from Cornerstone International’s services is aircraft MRO, Caerdav. Chris Coleman, Finance Director of Caerdav, explains: “Caerdav is one of the only independent UK-based MRO’s, specialising in the A320 and B737 families of aircraft. We have various dealings around the globe and needed support in ensuring we had accesses to the most competitive rates when making and receiving payments.

“Through Cornerstone International we have been able to access the best rates on the market, in a very easy manner, which have benefitted us financially. We now use the service on a weekly basis, and this has helped our business no end.”

Cornerstone International is part of the Cornerstone Finance Group – a hub of financial industry experts offering specialist interlinking services that work together. The Group operates across five different sectors of the UK financial services market – commercial finance, commercial insurance, wealth, mortgage and protection.

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Commenting on the service package, Haydn Thomas, Chief Commercial Officer of Cornerstone Finance Group, said: “This unique offering will match the demand with the large funding gaps that are present for Welsh SME’s. At Cornerstone we have a family of businesses that can support businesses to grow and meet their aspirations.

“With businesses across Wales, and the UK, seeking to rise to the challenges of the current financial environment, we encourage them to contact us to benefit from bespoke support and advice.”

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