Among the winners at last week’s inaugural International Trade Awards at the Institute of Export and International Trade’s first Import Export Show in London was EziDrops, a Watford-based firm offering a device to assist in the application of eyedrops. The company won Micro Business of the Year.
We caught up with EziDrops owner and inventor of the gadget Bob Gokani to hear how it felt, as well as the advice he would give for those looking to achieve similar success.
IOE&IT: Congratulations on your win – how do you feel?
BG: Absolutely excited – I didn't realise that we would actually win it! It just makes all those late nights worth it.
IOE&IT: After your experience at this year’s awards, would you recommend people enter next year’s?
BG: Definitely enter the awards like I did. You just don't realise what a surprise it is when you actually win it, and it's a great way to get more recognition for all the work that you're doing and all the products and services that you're developing.
IOE&IT: What tips would you give businesses like yours entering next year?
BG: In terms of advice, all I would say is: reach out for help. Reach out to your local Chamber of Commerce, your local Department for Business and Trade, and just keep asking for help. Keep knocking on doors. Just talk and talk and talk to a lot of people, and seek their help.
IOE&IT: Why do you think your business won it? What gave you the edge?
BG: I don’t know what gave us the particular edge, but what I do know is what we've been doing so far, and the fact that the products have been accepted by the marketplace. We've been inventing the products, and the biggest testament is the fact that it's not just in the UK [that we’ve been selling], but we've been exporting to countries that I'd never imagined would be buying the products, from smaller countries like Serbia and Montenegro to large ones further afield like New Zealand and Australia, and now America.
IOE&IT: Have you found the day so far? How have you found the International Trade Awards and the Import Export Show?
BG: It’s been an incredible day, actually. We started off very early in the morning and there have been a whole series of different speakers and talks. They really educate you on what’s going on in the industry and the amount of backing there is from government in terms of international trade. The education that's available, the help, the sources of help that are available. So yeah, it's been very educational.
IOE&IT: What benefits have you seen from IOE&IT membership?
BG: The fact that he's brought us here today! Winning an award is just beyond my comprehension, to be honest. That’s the pinnacle of today, but in terms of being a member you've got access to so much help and advice, and if you're actually exporting or thinking about it, then it's a natural progression for you to be a member.
How EziDrops reacted on social media
After the event, EziDrops posted on LinkedIn to acknowledge their win. The firm said it was “very pleased” to win Micro Business of the Year, and thanked IOE&IT. The post added:
“There are so many businesses, large and small doing their best to add to UK exports. So, congratulations to the winners, our support for all of the finalists and to all the businesses exporting to markets around the world.”