Age Check Certification Services Ltd have won the 10th ‘Open to Export Action Plan Competition’, taking home the £3000 cash prize sponsored by Bibby Financial Services after a showcase final hosted at Grant Thornton’s offices in Finsbury Square, London.
The competitions ask SMEs to create an international strategy using the online ‘Export Action Plan’ tool on OpentoExport.com. The tool allows companies to take ownership of their export strategy in a systematic way, encouraging them to take decisions along each step of their international trade journey – from selecting a market to delivering products or services to new customers.
10 finalists pitched their plans to a panel of expert judges, consisting of Jim Davis (Managing Director for Export Finance – Bibby Financial Services), Sarah Williams (Head of Growth Finance – Grant Thornton), Lesley Batchelor OBE (Director General – Institute of Export & International Trade), Rosa Wilkinson (Communications Director – High Value Manufacturing Catapult) and previous winner Rachael Attwood (Managing Director – Britannical).
The export plans were varied, ranging from hemp-based products to natural luxury skincare to environmentally friendly fertilizers. Each finalist is rewarded with free membership at the Institute of Export & International Trade, who run the Open to Export project.
The competitions play a key role in both the Institute of Export & International Trade and Bibby Financial Service’s commitment to boosting UK SME exports.
Upon winning the competition, Tony Allen, CEO of Age Check Certification Services Ltd, said:
“We are delighted to have won the competition; The Export Action Plan is a really useful tool that has allowed us to clearly identify the steps in our exporting journey. As a provider of third-party certification of age check equipment and practices in the UK, our next step is to expand our footprint overseas. We are breaking new ground in this really important field where we were able to come up with a really inventive strategy and we’re proud that our plan was recognised as the best by the judges.”
Jim Davis from competition sponsors Bibby Financial Services said:
“The quality of the plans and the presentations was really high and all the finalists should be very proud of their achievements in getting to this stage. Age Check for me not only presented really well but had thought that little bit more about their export market and how they could be successful selling their services overseas. The product in my opinion is brilliant and provides knowledge to retailers to be better at protecting young people from being able to buy products where age restrictions apply especially via e-commerce which must be harder to police. I wish all the businesses the best of luck and I’m sure they will all be successful.”
Lesley Batchelor OBE, from the Institute of Export & International Trade, added:
“Congratulations to Age Check Certification Services Ltd on becoming our 10th Open t oExport competition winners. It was a close run event with all the finalists impressing the judges with their considered and innovative export strategies. Age Check just pipped the others with their explanation of how they would use the £3000 prize money. We look forward to working with them on the implementation of their plans. With SMEs like these, we predict a bright export future for the UK!”