Susie Dorman, owner and creative director of One & Eight, a porcelain and fine metal jewellery maker, is the latest winner of the Open to Export Action Plan Competition, which took place during GTR UK 2019 in May.

Open to Export is an online information service for UK small businesses looking to begin exporting provided by the Institute of Export & International Trade.

The Open to Export Action Plan Competition invites UK SMEs to submit an export action plan online, with the top 10 businesses given the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The best presentation is awarded £3,000, provided by NatWest, to go toward the implementation of the plan.

The Institute of Export & International Trade also offers each shortlisted company a year’s free membership to help fulfil their exporting ambitions.

Dorman says that only through creating a plan to begin exporting did she fully realise the challenges and opportunities that exist overseas.

“It [exporting] is a whole new area for us…. The plan itself was really useful for focusing us on how to move our business forward,” she says.

Giving advice to other SMEs considering entering the competition, Dorman says: “You’ve just got to go for it and do it. Only by doing it do you identify if your business and your product is good for exporting and actually what you think when you go through the process of filling out an export plan isn’t necessarily where you’ll go or what you’ll do.”

In this video she talks to GTR about what she learned from creating her export plan and the challenges she’s facing as a first-time SME exporter.