IOE and IT Helping SMEs All Over the World to Enter International Trade

Tue 14 Aug 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
IOE News

international business awards

The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) is delighted that SMEs from all over the world have entered 'The Open to Export International Business Awards’ and taken their next steps in international trade. The competition invites companies from anywhere in the world to enter their completed ‘Export Action Plans’ using Open to Export’s (OTE) online planning tool.

The awards are endorsed by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) as part of the ‘WTO-ICC Small Business Champions’ initiative. SMEs have been given till 31 August 2018 to enter their plans for the chance to win US$5000 and a range of other exciting prizes, allowing them to kick-start their Export Action Plans and turn them into reality.

The IOE&IT is delighted to have already received entries from all over the world, including from the USA, Canada, India, China, Russia, Belize, Guatemala, Algeria, Zambia, Vietnam, Ireland and the UK. Overall, the IOE&IT has reached SMEs in at least 74 countries through the awards initiative, showing that it is leading the way for a more outward-looking 'Global Britain'.

reach of open to export summer 2018

[Green - where we have received entries into the awards; Blue - where SMEs have used Open to Export]

The IOE&IT is looking forward to inviting the 10 best entries to pitch their submitted plans to a panel of judges during the WTO Public Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 4th.

With three weeks still remaining for SMEs to enter, the IOE&IT is looking forward to seeing further entries from even more countries.

“Inspiring to be supporting SMEs from all over the planet”

Speaking of the surge of global interest in the OTE project, Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organisation, said:

“There is clearly great potential for micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) to benefit more from trade. By participating in the ICC-WTO Small Business Champions Initiative, the Institute of Export and International Trade is helping to raise awareness about export opportunities for MSMEs. This is very welcome and more needs to be done in that spirit. Supporting MSMEs in their efforts to participate in trade in greater numbers will go a long way to making the trading system more inclusive and improving the lives of people around the world.”

roberto azevedo

Director General of the IOE&IT Lesley Batchelor said:

“We are delighted that SMEs all over the world have engaged with the Open to Export project. We firmly believe that the Export Action Plan tool is a great solution to getting more businesses to enter international trade and are delighted that the WTO and ICC have also got behind the project.”

Young President of the IOE&IT Arne Mielken added:

"The IOE&IT is on its way to becoming a truly global organisation, helping SMEs around the world to export. In line with our newly found international outreach as a nation, we are putting the words 'Global Britain' into action, showing we are open to business. This is a key message coming from this competition.”

lesley and arne

Step-by-step guidance for SMEs looking to export for the first time

The “Open for Export” online 'Export Action Plan’ tool, allows SMEs to take ownership of their export strategies 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.

The international ‘Export Action Plan Competition’ rewards the best export plans with prizes and further support for the businesses to take their next steps in international trade. If this is not a confidence boost in your capabilities, what is?

OTE has also created a new portal for companies interested in entering the competition, with supporting resources and more information about the WTO-ICC Small Business Champions initiative, including an FAQ, an online webinar about how to enter the awards, and useful resources to help you with your export plans.

Open to Export

Open to Export (OTE) is the IOE&IT’s digital solution to boosting the UK’s SME exports. It helps new and inexperienced businesses prepare to sell overseas by giving them vital access to online information, support and advice – at no cost whatsoever. This includes introductory guides to all the key steps of export, market guides and a comprehensive webinar programme.

WTO-ICC Small Business Champions Initiative

The ‘ICC-WTO Small Business Champions’ initiative has been launched by the WTO and the ICC to facilitate participation by smaller companies in international trade.

It provides a platform for companies and private sector organizations around the world to propose innovative, practical ideas designed to encourage micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to do business across borders.

WTO Public Forum

The Public Forum, taking place on 2-4 October 2018, is the WTO’s largest annual outreach event, providing a platform for participants to discuss the latest developments in world trade and to propose ways of enhancing the multilateral trading system. The event regularly attracts over 1,500 representatives from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments, parliamentarians and inter-governmental organizations.