By Marcus Leach

Innovative companies across London are being encouraged to show they have what it takes to 'export for growth' by entering a new competition run by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

The new “Exporting for Growth Prize” was officially launched by the Prime Minister and Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment, earlier this month.

The competition aims to encourage more small businesses to take their products to overseas markets by offering a comprehensive package of support to the company with the best export idea.

The winner will receive UKTI support worth £5,000 and three grants for overseas travel to their target markets, plus expert business knowledge and insight from sponsor companies.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in London have until Friday 13 January 2012 to submit their entry. Shortlisted companies will be invited to present their big export idea to a live audience of business leaders and a judging panel, who will select the winning idea.

“Perhaps more than any other city, London was built on trade — on exports. International trade is seen as the greatest spur to increased sales, productivity and profitability. It is, therefore, vital for the London — and UK — economy. We know there are many, particularly smaller, companies still to take up the export challenge and benefit from the wide-ranging opportunities in high-growth markets," Parveen Thornhill, Acting International Trade Director for UKTI London, said.

“There is a strong link between innovation, product development and export success, as a recent UKTI report, ‘New markets, new ideas: how exporting fosters innovation and growth’ shows.

“If you’re a smaller company with a big export idea, we want to hear from you, particularly if you’re new to exporting. Just tell us, in 200 words, what your idea is, why it’s workable, and why now is the best time to take it to market.”

There will also be prizes for second and third place, and all shortlisted companies will have access to professional mentoring to develop their pitch presentation and time with a UKTI International Trade Adviser.

To find out more about the Exporting for Growth Prize and download an entry form, visit www.ukti.gov.uk/exportingforgrowthprize

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