The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has launched its 10th ‘Open to Export Competition’ to encourage businesses to take ownership of their international strategies.
Sponsored by Bibby Financial Services (BFS), the competition asks SMEs to create a coherent ‘Export Action Plan’ using an online planning tool on OpentoExport.com. SMEs can then enter their completed plan to the competition for the opportunity to win international trade support from BFS and the IOE&IT, with one winning company being awarded a further £3000 cash towards implementing their Export Action Plan.
The competitions are a key element of the IOE&IT and BFS’s commitment to boosting UK SME exports. The 10th iteration has the theme of ‘Taking UK Plc to the World’, showing that the UK is committed to international trade after Brexit.
Companies have been given until 8 February to enter their ‘Export Action Plans’ into the competition – an extension on the original deadline of 25 January.
10 shortlisted finalists will then be invited to pitch their businesses at a showcase final at Grant Thornton’s London offices on March 6th. The finalists will pitch to a panel of expert judges about how they would use the £3000 cash prize provided by BFS towards implementing their international growth strategy.
Announcing the 10th competition, Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General of the IOE&IT, said: “We are delighted to now be launching our 10th Open to Export competition. Since launching the competitions in 2015, we have helped hundreds of SMEs both home and abroad to take their next steps in export. We’re now looking forwards to helping UK SMEs to fly the flag overseas alongside our competition partners Bibby.”
Jim Davis, Managing Director International, Bibby Financial Services, added: “We support more than 10,000 businesses worldwide and we know from our own experience that trading overseas presents SMEs with tangible opportunities to grow. The IOE&IT is a fantastic support service for SMEs and we’re looking forward to reviewing the competition entries.”