Rob Chester, CEO of Ubloquity, was on hand at last month’s International Trade Awards, part of the first Import Export Show in London, to accept the Innovation in Trade Award on behalf of his company. Using blockchain to enhance the security of cross-border trade, the firm was said by one judge to be particularly good at “engaging with staff to promote and gain new ideas”.
The Daily Update caught up with Chester to get his thoughts on the awards and what others can do to emulate their success.
Daily Update: Thank you for joining us. First, congratulations on winning your award. How do you feel?
Rob Chester: Humbled. We’ve been very fortunate. We’re a company that’s only two years old, but we’ve been fortunate to win quite a few awards so far. It’s always good because it’s a recognition that you’re on the right track and doing the right things.
It also gives the people who work for us a lovely boost, because they see that independent recognition [and think] ‘I’m working with the right company, doing the right things’. So, we’re always delighted to win, and particularly an award from IOE&IT because it's a good, compelling organization.
DU: Could you say a little bit more about why you think you won?
RC: I think it’s because we’re innovating, and the world of international trade has got to move more towards innovative ways of doing things. We formed a consortium of different companies where we’re all trying to innovate. We’re all trying to do things in a better and more efficient way [compared to] the traditional approach to trade.
Because of that, we’ve got lots of good examples of companies we’re working with we think could be moving towards this more innovative approach. We’ve probably won because we’ve got good, tangible examples of innovation that will make a practical difference to how global trade is going to operate in the future.
DU: What advice would you give to companies looking to enter the awards in future?
RC: A lot of companies do things in theory; we try and do things in practice. That’s often harder because, if you’re going to move quickly to try and develop solutions, you’ve got to be quite brave.
Luckily, we’re a company where that’s exactly what we try to do. I think a lot of people can put down on paper things they’re doing, but if you can work in partnership and collaboration with other companies to develop good solutions that actually are better and more efficient, you are going to be on the path to winning awards.
DU: Any other recommendations to businesses entering the awards?
RC: We’re a very small business and a very new, young business. Talent really matters today, and attracting talent as a start-up is hard. One way we’ve tried to do that has been to enter awards, because we really recognise winning can help you build your reputation. The difference from others is that we’re trying to win them having done real things and having developed real things.
DU: What have you made of this first Import Export Show?
RC: It’s been helpful. It’s been a good mix of government and practical businesses developing and working out solutions. I thought it was a good agenda before I came, but that has really resonated with me through the day.
I can tell [how good] these events are from the amount of notes that I make – and I'm on to my seventh page of notes this morning, so I've learned a lot. It's a good agenda, and I encourage the IOE&IT to keep going with developing conferences and events like this. I think it really helps.
How Ubloquity reacted on social media
Kieran Kelly, CTO at Ubloquity, took to LinkedIn to describe the win as “humbling”. He said it marked “another prestigious award” for the firm from the IOE&IT, for whom he had these warm words:
“Marco Forgione and the team's vision for digital transformation and pushing the boundaries of international trade are helping the UK take its place on the global stage and showcasing the best this country has to offer.”