Nine SMEs savour shortlisting success in national export competition

A brewery, a pasta producer and a plant hire company are among nine dynamic finalists who have been shortlisted from over 40 companies for Open to Export’s Action Plan Showcase Competition Final.

Each company will present their plans for international business growth to a panel of expert judges at London Olympia on Thursday 17 November for a chance to win £3k cash as well as a further £4k website redesign courtesy of Yell.

The finalists are Asperato Payment Systems, Blossoms Syrup, Premier Plant Hire, Flora Harrison, The Ingenious Air Company, Lancaster Brewery, Lick Frozen Yogurt, Pasta Foods and Polkadoodles.

The companies will showcase the Export Action Plans they created through Open to Export’s innovative digital business planning tool.  The competition is part of Going Global – Europe’s biggest exhibition for businesses seeking international expansion, which runs across November 17th and 18th.

Runner-up prizes include translation services from SDL Managed Translation and one year’s free membership of both the Institute of Export and Enterprise Europe

Open to Export is the government funded digital route to boost the UK’s SME exports.  The 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.

Using the Export Action Plan tool allows businesses to take ownership of their international trade strategy and make decisions along each step of their exporting journey – from selecting a market to delivering products or services to new customers.

The Export Action Plan provides support in the form of prompts, useful resources and video and once complete, produces a report summarising answers and actions in an easy to read and shareable format which is perfect for sharing with international trade advisers or banks to better inform export planning conversations.

The competition is sponsored by Bibby Financial Services and Heathrow Airport with high worth prizes from Yell and SDL Managed Translation.  The judging panel comprises Ann Attridge – Director of Klik2Learn and previous competition winner, Lesley Batchelor OBE – CEO of Open to Export and Director General of the Institute of Export, Peter Hughes - Head of Procurement Support Services, Heathrow, Julian Hucker – Entrepreneur and Chairman of Open to Export and Phil Tobin – Managing Director of Bibby Financial Services

Lesley Batchelor said: “Trading globally presents a wealth of opportunities, and our finalists say that the Export Action Plan has been an excellent and easy resource to get them started.

“We are committed to helping inexperienced exporters to broaden their horizons, and this includes regular Export Action Plan competitions to encourage as many small businesses as possible to get the benefits of this terrific tool as well as the chance to win prizes up to £7,000.  This will ultimately help them achieve their international trade goals.”

For more information visit and for information and a video of the last competition