The Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) recently announced it was launching a new awards scheme to celebrate the innovation, hard work and successes of individuals and businesses across all parts of the international trade community.
As Helen Hastie, IOE&IT membership development manager, told the IOE&IT Daily Update last week:
“The whole trade community has been though some challenging years, with a lot of change and upheaval. It’s an important moment to take stock, stop and reflect, and it’s an important part of IOE&IT’s remit to reward the excellent hard work and commitment of our members and others across the trade community.
“We have launched these awards to allow the entire international trade community to recognise, reflect and celebrate with us.”
A high-quality panel
As with any awards programme, a critical element of the process is the recruitment of a panel of high-quality judges. As Hastie added last week, the desire, from the start, has been to make sure the whole panel for these awards is completely independent from IOE&IT.
Judges recruited to date, from across the industry, include Ratnakar Adhikari, executive director of the WTO’s Enhanced Integrated Framework, Roberto Napolitano, chief executive of fintech body Innovate Finance, Ambassador Mathew Wilson of Barbados, coordinator
of the WTO’s informal working group on MSMEs, and Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation.
Jones, who is a judge on the award for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) says she is delighted to be a judge for the awards:
“Over the past few years, small businesses have put international trade on hold in the face of rising challenges. With the government signing free trade agreements, there has never been a more important time to champion exporters and shine a spotlight
on their success. I'm delighted to be involved in celebrating inspiring entrepreneurs and encouraging others to follow their lead.”
It's a view shared by Gabriela Alvarez, founder of sustainability experts Latitude Consulting, who has agreed to be a judge on the sustainable trade award.
“Celebrating achievements in sustainable trade not only recognises the innovative strides being made but reinforces the message that long-term success intertwines with ethical and environmentally conscious decisions.
“As our world grapples with unprecedented challenges, sustainability is a beacon for the global trade community, guiding us towards practices that foster economic growth but also preserve our planet for generations to come.”
Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Food and Chair of Scotland Food and Drink, has experience of launching a business and growing it internationally. She is also, naturally, a proud champion of Scottish produce overseas.
“I am delighted to be judging the inaugural Rising Star Award category which celebrates the innovation, hard work and exporting achievements of people working in scaling businesses. As a founder of a business that expanded quickly into international markets,
I understand the immense logistical and financial challenges of breaking into a new market and the thrill of gaining distribution and consumers there.
“Succeeding in generating sales overseas requires strong teamwork, expertise, ambition, humility and grit. These are only possible to muster with strong leadership, purpose and vision. These elements must be celebrated to encourage outstanding teams of
people to export more and to encourage upcoming businesses to take advantage of growth opportunities abroad.
“These awards increase awareness across all sectors of the huge growth opportunities generated by expanding distribution of services and produce overseas. It takes investment, market knowledge and serious team work to achieve a successful and sustainable
export business and these awards celebrate the businesses that are doing it right and show it can be done.”
Bruce-Gardyne adds that the awards provide a platform to highlight the positive impact of trading overseas:
“Export businesses can grow exponentially but they are also creating wealth, employment and boosting economies at home, as well as in the communities and countries in which they have a presence.”