UK export businesses encouraged to enter Brexit-tackling competition

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Businesses across the UK are invited to take part in a competition designed to soften the blow of Brexit.

Trading experts and professional membership body Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) launched the Open to Export competition to encourage businesses to take ownership of their international strategies.

And entering its 12th year, there is no better time than in the lead up to Brexit for the initiative to run again.

Jim Davis, Managing Director International of competition sponsor Bibby Financial Services, said: “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.”  

This autumn Brexit will dominate the minds of businesses and traders, and IOE&IT believe it is crucial for UK’s SMEs to continue to plan ahead and look to export as a way of mitigating risk and increasing global sales.

And the government’s Export Strategy- which aims to grow exports as a percentage of GDP from 30% to 35% while encouraging SMEs to look at global markets – reflects a similar mindset.

The Open to Export Competition is open to SMEs in the UK. To enter, businesses must create a coherent Export Action Plan using an online planning tool on OpentoExport.com and submit it by November 5.

10 shortlisted finalists will then be invited to pitch their businesses at a showcase final taking place as part of the IOE&IT’s Birmingham World Trade Summit on November 28.

At the summit, 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 1st place cash prize towards implementing their international growth strategy.

A prize of international trade support from BFS and the IOE&IT is also up for grabs.

Director General of the IOE&IT, Lesley Batchelor 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.”

She added: “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.”

For more information log on to opentoexport.com. 

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