By Daniel Hunter

Online exporter community Open to Export has launched a nationwide competition to help the next wave of UK businesses to spread their wings and expand overseas.

High-flying UK entrepreneurs with an export start-up or a successful UK-based business ready for international expansion can apply for free to the 'Global Jump-Start' competition. They will have the chance to win a package of prizes worth £4,000 designed to accelerate and develop their growth plans, including an easyJet flight to the market of their choice.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to pitch in person to an expert judging panel and demonstrate their business vision and commercial knowledge. The companies will receive feedback and advice from the panel, including senior executives from easyJet, and the Institute of Export, all of whom have experience of running and working with successful international businesses.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: "This is a great opportunity to discover and support innovative SMEs and start-ups that have an established business or an export concept which is ready to be converted into a successful international opportunity. I'd encourage any business with global ambitions to apply for this valuable package of support which has been specifically tailored to jump-start business expansion overseas."

The 5 winners will each receive:

- A return flight to the easyJet destination of their choice;
- £2,000 worth of business planning support from an expert accountant from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants;
- An Institute of Export training course of their choice and 1 year's membership;
- A 1 year subscription to Croner-i International Trade export legislation guide an Export Communications Review by a UK Trade & Investment expert

Ali Gayward, easyJet's UK Commercial Manager, said: "We're delighted to be offering easyJet flights which will enable the 5 recipients to aim high, take advantage of overseas business opportunities and develop their ventures outside of the UK. easyJet flies over 10 million business passengers each year between more than 30 countries and over 80% of Europe's 50 largest airports. We are making it even easier and more affordable to do business abroad and are fully committed to supporting the Open to Export scheme."

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