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GTR Export Action Plan finalists 152

Ecotile Flooring at the 8th Open to Export Action Plan Final


On June 7th 2018, Ecotile were invited to the 8th  Export Action Plan Final at GTR’s UK Trade and Export Finance Conference in London.

The conference is a major annual event for domestic exporters, financiers and trade specialists. A wide array of workshops, panel discussions, and keynote speeches were given from representatives at major banks and international trade organisations.

Ten SME companies were shortlisted to compete for the award of £3000 sponsored by Natwest along with further e-commerce and export support from The Institute of Ecommerce and The Institute of Export & International Trade.  In order to win, the shortlisted companies gave presentations explaining how they would use the money to increase their international growth.

The ten companies shortlisted we’re:

The judging panel included  Jim Bidwell (Head of Trade Services Product Management – NatWest), Emil Stickland (CEO, Thrive Digital and the Institute of Export & International Trade), Terry Scuoler (Chairman, The Institute of Export & International Trade), Anne-Marie Woolley (Trade Finance Consultant, Bank Leumi), and David Weatherhead (Head of SME Trade, Lloyds Banking).

Export Anne Marie Wooley

Pitch Perfect

Sue Burns from Bubblebum was the first to present her case. Hailing from Northern Ireland, Bubblebum are an award-winning inflatable car booster seat provider. Sue pitched that the prize money would go towards aiding Bubblebum in entering the German market.

Our very own Lucinda O’Reilly outlined her plans to use the prize money to increase our exports to the German market via an international SEO campaign which would also focus on improving our brand awareness in the USA.

Ecotile Export Lucinda

Other highlights showcased included the Incredible Bakery Company which provide a gluten, vegan and allergen-free range of bakery products. Two other companies dedicated their pitch to more creative endeavours. Shaheda Mullholland of Mirelle London would invest in trade shows around the world to promote their designer luxury handbags. Anoesjcka Giannotti of Seekers of Design is planning to expand their B2C customer base for independent art, home and fashion designers. Bernadette Mulligan of tattoo and eyebrow aftercare provider, My Brow Care and Mark Lufkin of home tech innovator Wondrwall, were  looking to invest the money to enhance their social media campaigns and activity to other international markets.

Export Judges with incredible bread 51

Export Mirelle London 3 102

Export My Brow care 2 107

Export Wondrwall 1 127

And finally, award-winning Scottish beverage maker, Wooha Brewing Company was represented by Katy Heppell. She revealed the brewery’s plans to take their beers to the USA and Southeast Asia, utilizing a “Made in Scotland” mark of quality stance as a key marketing tactic.

Winning Export

All finalists were rewarded with free business membership with The Institue of Export & International Trade. However, it was announced by Jim Bidwell of Natwest that Bubblebum were winners of the £3000 cash prize.

“It was great to be involved once again in this competition, which showcases some of the best and brightest across the UK. Trade and export plays a huge role in the economic and political agenda, and a clear and defined export strategy is essential for businesses to succeed in meeting their international ambitions. Congratulations to the winners, Bubble Bum, and to all of the finalists – a great showing all around.”  – Jim Bidwell, Natwest.

Export BubbleBum winners 158

Export NatWest BubbleBum 3 163

Sue Burns made a statement about Bubblebum’s victory:

“It was a brilliant day and of course we are delighted that BubbleBum was selected as winner. The Open to Export plan is incredibly helpful for a growing business like BubbleBum when targeting export markets. Winning the award will make a huge difference for us when applying our export action plan for Germany.

The award is an endorsement of our team’s hard work, passion and focus on clear export goals.  We’re very grateful to the sponsors NatWest and the Institute of Export, but also to our fellow competitors, for an enjoyable competition, and the opportunity to invest in our future export growth.”

To conclude it was a wonderful opportunity to be invited to such a prestigious event and to be in the company of other very impressive SME’s.  We wish everyone who was part of this valuable process the best of luck growing their businesses at home and abroad.

For more info about the even, click here to find out more.