Lancashire’s business leaders say they are confident that Britain’s export market will continue to thrive post Brexit.

Laurie Thomas, Managing Director of Vision Support Services; Morgan Rothwell, Director of D&M Creative Limited; and Mandy Lockett, International Business Director at the East Lancs Chamber, joined host Les Nutter, Managing Partner at Cassons, for a discussion about international trade.

To mark the fifth anniversary of Meet and Eat, the event has adopted a new panel discussion format and has been renamed Meet Eat Debate to reflect the shake-up.

As well as sharing their successes, the panel discussed the challenges faced by exporters in the current climate and lessons they have learnt along the way.

Morgan, whose business D&M Creative works with clients across the globe on advertising and branding campaigns, stressed the importance of understanding your target market and their culture.

Most of D&M’s correspondence is done online due to the location of their clients – and Morgan said adapting your approach to fit that market is essential.

“Understanding how clients like to be involved in design process has been an interesting learning curve. Norwegian clients are very direct and want to be involved in the whole process, whereas our American clients prefer to be wowed with the final result.”

Establishing trust in your market is crucial to international success, says Laurie Thomas of Vision Support Services, one of the world’s leading textile companies. The business has 6,500 customers in 84 countries across five continents.

Laurie says their focus on Corporate Social Responsibility helps them to stand out in a competitive market along with their commitment to product quality goods,and maintain the consistency and reliability of their supply chain.

While discussing Brexit and its impact at the St Mary’s Chambers event, the panel agreed that Great Britain still has a name synonymous with trust and respect.

Mandy, whose role is dedicated to providing support and advice to East Lancashire businesses who want to increase their international trade activity, said many businesses are anticipating how the decision to leave the EU will affect them.

She said: “A lot of companies felt the impact immediately after the vote, but things have settled down. Whatever happens, I think Britain will come out stronger.

“Britain has a history of being a trading nation and we will continue to trade - no matter what.”

Les added: “Trading internationally makes you up your game. It puts you outside your comfort zone and forces you to have the right procedures and policies in place. Here in East Lancashire, businesses have a range of resources available to help them achieve this.”

After the success of last year’s event on the East Lancs Railway, Meet Eat Debate will return for a party on the train on 22 September. Join them for networking, a speaker on the platform and a picnic on the train. Tickets are available online at