Export competition encourages UK SMEs to take UK Plc to the World in 2019


Monday 14 January 2019



With Brexit looming and the UK government encouraging more businesses to make the most of export opportunities around the world through its ‘Exporting is GREAT’ campaign, the Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has launched its 10th ‘Open to Export Competition’ to encourage businesses to take ownership of their international strategies.

Sponsored by Bibby Financial Services (BFS), the competition asks SMEs to create a coherent ‘Export Action Plan’ using an online planning tool on OpentoExport.com. 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 Ł3,000 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. The 10th iteration has the theme of ‘Taking UK Plc to the World’, showing that the UK is committed to international trade after Brexit.

8 February deadline
Companies have been given until 8 February to enter their ‘Export Action Plans’ into the competition.

10 shortlisted finalists will then be invited to pitch their businesses at a showcase final at Grant Thornton’s London offices on 6 March. The finalists will pitch to a panel of expert judges about how they would use the Ł3,000 cash prize provided by BFS towards implementing their international growth strategy.

Announcing the 10th competition, Lesley Batchelor OBE, Director General of the IOE&IT, said: “We are delighted to now be launching our 10th Open to Export competition. Since launching the competitions in 2015, we have helped hundreds of SMEs both home and abroad to take their next steps in export. We’re now looking forwards to helping UK SMEs to fly the flag overseas alongside our competition partners Bibby.”

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.”


The Institute of Export & International Trade (IOE&IT) has for over 80 years been the professional membership body representing and supporting the interests of everyone involved in importing, exporting and international trade in the UK. Through qualifications and training the IOE&IT has driven the export skills agenda in the UK and is the country’s leading authority for best practice and competence in trade. The IOE&IT was awarded with the title of ‘Small Business Champion’ by the WTO and ICC in 2018 following an international ‘Open to Export’ competition it ran in Geneva, which attracted entries from 74 countries.

Open to Export (OTE) is the IOE&IT’s digital solution to boosting the UK’s SME exports. It helps new and inexperienced businesses prepare to sell overseas by giving them vital access to online information, support and advice – at no cost whatsoever. This includes introductory guides to all the key steps of export, market guides and a comprehensive webinar programme.

Bibby Financial Services (BFS) is a leading independent financial services partner to over 10,000 businesses worldwide. With over 40 operations in 14 countries spanning Asia, Europe and North America, BFS provides specialist and adaptable FX services, trade, asset and working capital finance, helping businesses to grow in domestic and international markets. Formed in 1982, BFS is part of the Bibby Line Group (BLG), a diverse and forward-looking family business delivering personal, responsive and flexible customer solutions for over 200 years.
To find out more about Bibby Financial Services, visit www.bibbyfinancialservices.com.




Forthcoming Events

June 26 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening – Fenland
June 28 2019 7:00PM / 7.00pm onwards
Comedy Night and Black Tie Dinner - Peterborough
July 7 2019 9:30AM / 9.30am-1.00pm
Charity Cycle Ride - Peterborough
July 8 2019 / 5.00-7.00pm
Informal Networking Evening – Ely
July 9 2019 9:30AM / 9.30am-12.00pm
War for Talent - Huntingdon
July 10 2019 10:30AM / 10.30am-2.30pm
St Neots Business Showcase