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:
- Bubblebum (UK) Ltd
- Diamond Hard Surfaces Ltd
- Ecotile Flooring Ltd (Yours Truly…)
- Incredible Bakery Company
- Levity Crop Science
- Mirelle Limted
- My Brow Care Ltd
- Wondrwall Limited
- WooHa Brewing Company
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 event, click here to find out more.
Lucinda O’Reilly, Exports & Marketing Director is an integral part of the team that has grown Ecotile Flooring in to the successful manufacturing business it is today. Over the last 20 years she has successfully employed her skills in sales and marketing to ensure Ecotile Flooring is recognised as the market leading manufacturer of PVC interlocking floor tiles. Lucinda’s love of travel means the Ecotile brand is dominant all over Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and India.
To ensure compliance with export regulations Lucinda has gained accreditations from the Chamber of Commerce in Incoterms & Export Licence Controls and Export Procedures & Documentation and has completed the Institute of Export course on Incoterms 2020. She is a member of the Institute of Export, was a finalist in the Natwest Open to Export competition in 2018 and was instrumental in Ecotile Flooring winning a Queen’s Enterprise for International Trade in 2017. Lucinda has recently been interviewed by BBC News and Channel 4 News for her insights on Brexit and is an Export Champion for the Department for International Trade.