IOE&IT export competition encourages SMEs to plan ahead

The UK government’s ‘Export Strategy’ aims to grow exports as a percentage of GDP from 30% to 35% and encourages SMEs to look further afield at global markets – especially emerging markets –  as a way to mitigate risk and increase global sales

To this end, The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has launched the 12th ‘Open to Export Competition’ to encourage businesses to take ownership of their international strategies.  Sponsored by Bibby Financial Services the competition asks SMEs to create a coherent ‘Export Action Plan’ using an online planning tool on

SMEs can then enter their completed plan to the competition for the opportunity to win international trade support from BFS and the IOE&IT, with one winning company being awarded a further £3000 cash towards implementing their Export Action Plan.

The competitions are a key element of the IOE&IT and BFS’s commitment to boosting UK SME exports.

Companies have been given until November 5th 2019 to enter their ‘Export Action Plans’ into the competition.

10 shortlisted finalists will then be invited to pitch their businesses at a showcase final, which will be taking place as part of the IOE&IT’s Birmingham World Trade Summit on November 28th. At the summit, the shortlisted finalists will network with and hear from global trade experts about the practicalities of entering markets before pitching to a panel of expert judges about how they would use the £3000 cash prize towards implementing their international growth strategy.

Announcing the launch of the competition, Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General of the IOE&IT said, “This could well be our most important competition yet. With Brexit likely to bring further uncertainty to the business community over the autumn and a ‘No Deal’ cliff-edge still looming, it’s vital that we say to the UK’s SMEs that exporting doesn’t just spread risk, it increases your profits and sales. We also need to tell them that it’s not hard to do – as long as you have a plan and have researched the markets you’re selling to, it’s perfectly doable, whatever the circumstances.”

Jim Davis, Managing Director International, Bibby Financial Services added, “We support more than 10,000 businesses worldwide and we know from our own experience that trading overseas presents SMEs with tangible opportunities to grow. The IOE&IT is a fantastic support service for SMEs and we’re looking forward to reviewing the competition entries.”