International Trade Awards 2023 winners announced at Import Export Show

Thu 16 Nov 2023
Posted by: Danielle Keen
Trade News

Award winners at the Import Export Show

The Institute of Export and International Trade (IOE&IT) celebrated the successes of UK businesses and individual contributors with the first International Trade Awards yesterday (15 November).

Held as part of the inaugural Import Export Show at Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, the awards recognise achievements in trade ranging from significant social impact to supporting growth. 

Moving trade forward

The Innovation in Trade Award, sponsored by cargo-partner, recognises companies that put innovation at the heart of its business and trade strategy, either by adopting new technology or improving existing processes. The award was given to ubloquity, which uses blockchain technology in create a secure chain of custody, enhancing the security of cross-border trade.

Judge Keirra Smith, deputy director at Export Capability, said she was particularly impressed by how the company were “harnessing technology to improve and advance their products” and “engaging with staff to promote and gain new ideas and create further innovation”.

The Investment in Trade Award, sponsored by EORI UK, was won by Gateley Global which supports international expansion for both public and private sector clients. The award recognises the firm for its demonstrable inward investment in the UK and contribution to UK growth.

The judges found this entry was “exceptional” and noted that all achievements in promoting foreign direct investment (FDI), growth and job creation in the region were strongly backed up with clear evidence of tangible results.

Celebrating small businesses

As unlocking the export potential of SMEs is a recognised route to greater UK growth, IOE&IT also celebrated the achievements of smaller businesses.

EziDrops, which sells its eye drop applicator internationally through e-commerce giant Amazon, won Micro Business of the Year. While SME of the Year was won by VHR, an international recruitment agency that specialises in finding candidates for engineering roles.

Ambassador to Barbados Matthew Wilson was on the judging panel, and hailed the “perseverance” shown by EziDrops, adding that its “mix of organic business planning with use of more traditional export-oriented tools is to be commended”.

Another judge exclaimed: “Wow – what a story.”

Social and environmental impact

Beyond the bottom line, the awards sought to highlight social contributions made by trading businesses.

The Sustainable Trade Award recognises businesses that places environmental, social and governance (ESG) at the forefront of how they trade. The judges awarded this to RS for their 2030 action plan 'For a Better World'. Derived from the UN’s sustainable development goals, the plan includes action points for working towards four goals: advancing sustainability, championing education and innovation, empowering people and doing business responsibly.

The judges commended RS on its “outstanding application”, with clear, ambitious and tracked indicators for performance and stakeholder engagement. It has shown alignment with its sustainability goals, and has done a great job communicating the challenges it faces and how it will move forward, they said.

The Trading for Good Award, meanwhile, is designed to celebrate business which break down barriers to trade, ensuring trade is an enabler for local, national and international communities. Eurolatin Strategy Consulting won the award for their work fostering trade links between Latin America, the EU and UK.

The judges were impressed with the way Eurolatin Strategy Consulting has bridged the commercial gap in Ecuador. It has shown positive interventions for single mothers and indigenous women, and an understanding of diversity and social inclusion required for this Trading for Good Award.

Individual contributions

The Young Trader of the Year Award sought is open to anybody under 30, who could demonstrate a clear contribution to trade within their company. Sponsored by the IOE foundation, the award was won by Elsie Etienne, export control and customs specialist at Vattenfall Wind Power.

Judge Alison Culshaw called Etienne “immensely commercially minded”, demonstrating “a deep commitment to excellence in international trade”. Her passion, other judges said, shone through, with one singling out the volunteer and charitable roles Elsie plays in the wider community as particularly remarkable.

The Rising International Trader award allows businesses to recognise employees who showed a clear talent for international trade. The award was won by Charles Peter, international business development manager at PG Paper Company.

The judges vaunted Peter’s “impressive sales growth”, and called him an “outstanding employee who deserves recognising and celebrating”.