William Hague visits Sutton for international trade talks
Businesses got advice on how to promote themselves internationally by Foreign Secretary William Hague.
William Hague spent Friday morning in Sutton, alongside Conservative candidate for Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Scully, meeting small businesses and Sutton-based international companies to speak about overseas development.
Among the businesses he spoke to were Reed Business Information, G4S, HH Global, and Subsea 7.
He then visited the Sutton Sports Village (SSV), where he received a tour of the facilities and discussed attracting more sporting hopefuls from overseas.
William Hague, Paul Scully, Keith Sohl and his son James Sohl
He spoke to founder of SSV Keith Sohl and his son James, now General Manager at the centre, who are currently reaching out to young people in China.
They believe up to 30 Chinese people a year could move to Britain to train at their Sutton Tennis Academy if visas were easier for them to obtain.
Keith Sohl said: "I think from our point of view the opportunity to meet with a cabinet member is very motivational for our staff and customers."
His son added: "We are very proud to be selected as a business worthy of a visit."
Originally built as a youth tennis academy in 1990 so James had somewhere to train, the centre now provides professional and recreational facilities for a range of sporting activities.
During the tour of the facilities Mr Hague watched those participating in a regional youth tennis tournament being held at the centre.
He later said: "I think out there somewhere there’s a potential Olympic medal."
Mr Scully joked that there could be another golden post box in the area one day.
While talking to spectators, Mr Hague told them that he was not much with a tennis racket and that judo is more his thing.
Mr Hague said he was impressed with Sutton. He said: "Sutton is a great place. We want its businesses to grow, we want the facilities to be really good here.They can really draw people to the area."
"It’s a big thing on the map, a place like this with several thousand people coming through here every week."
Mr Hague added that excellent sporting facilities can improve quality of life and living in the area.
Mr Scully said: “HH Global is a great example of a small local business that thought big and succeeded. Large employers and local shops need each other to function well."
"I'm pleased the Foreign Secretary saw that Sutton businesses are ambitious for their town rather than settling for an identikit High Street in a dormitory community.“
Tony Massey, CMO, HH Global said: “It was an honour for us to host a visit to our head office by the Foreign Secretary. "
"HH Global has been operating from Sutton for over twenty years and developing an increasingly international footprint which has grown significantly over the last few years in particular."
"Our reputation for doing global business from a local base is obviously growing and we were delighted to be part of discussions about how UK businesses can succeed and flourish in the global economy today.”