This article was published before we became the Chartered Institute of Export & International Trade on 10 July 2024, and this is reflected in references to our old brand and name. For more information about us becoming Chartered, visit our dedicated webpage on the change here.

Photo from Open to Export competition

Broadening export horizons: Open to Export CEO, Lesley Batchelor OBE, fifth from right, presents Genevieve Sweeney, centre, with her prize.


Clavering-based Genevieve Sweeney Limited – a premium knitwear label that is poised to enter the US market – has spun gold in a national export competition.

The business, which was established just 18 months ago, won almost £7k of funding and support after explaining its designs for export to judges at Open to Export’s Action Plan Showcase Competition. This took place at the Moller Centre in Cambridge as part of the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) export bootcamp event.

The label was one of four Essex finalists in the East of England sector who had produced Export Action Plans through Open to Export’s innovative digital business planning tool.

The prize comprised £3k cash funding, courtesy of SDL Managed Translation and Heathrow Airport Limited, a £3k website package from Yell and two free places on an Institute of Export & International Trade public training course worth £700.

Fellow Essex finalists were Sacoma Global Foods, Sundried and The Foraging Fox.

Open to Export is a government funded digital route to boost the UK’s SME exports. Its Export Action Plan tool is part of a website dedicated to helping new and inexperienced businesses prepare to sell internationally by giving them unlimited free access to information, support and advice.

Helping companies make decisions along each step of their exporting journey - from selecting a market to delivering products or services to new customers – the tool provides additional wide-ranging support. Once complete, it produces a report in an easy to read format, which is perfect for sharing with international trade advisers or banks to better inform export planning conversations.

Each of the shortlisted companies will benefit from a year’s free small business membership with the Institute of Export & International Trade and a web translation voucher from SDL Managed Translation.

Sponsored by DIT, Heathrow Airport Limited and SDL Managed Translation, the judging panel comprised Lesley Batchelor OBE, CEO of Open to Export and Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade; Robert Gordy, CEO of SDL Managed Translation; Robert Glasel, International Trade Manager, NatWest and Alan Pain, Director, DIT.


Genevieve Sweeney said: “The Action Plan is great to get your thoughts down and for making you take the time to actually sit down, think things through, ask yourself questions and set out a strategy. Everything is collated and stored in one place, instead of in notebooks and on bits of paper that can get lost.


“The competition was a fantastic opportunity to compare notes with entrepreneurs from other sectors. We all have different export plans and it was eye-opening to see what they are doing. I am thrilled to have won and excited to be entering a new market with a strong international website and marketing strategy.”


Commented Lesley Batchelor: “We were impressed, inspired and energised by the diversity, talent and global aspirations of all those shortlisted and congratulate Genevieve Sweeney Limited and all the worthy finalists who gained knowledge and confidence from using Open to Export’s innovative digital business planning tool.”

For more information visit and for information and a video of one of our previous competitions.