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How to improve your entry: International Trade

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Advice, International trade

Sean took time out of the office last week to meet one of our colleagues from UKTI, John Rimmer who very kindly offered to share a little advice on completing a Queen’s Awards entry form in the International Trade category. You can see his advice in the video below.

John shares his thoughts on what the judging panels are looking for in the International Trade category and addresses questions 11 to 13 specifically, given these are the ones we receive most queries on. He offers sensible suggestions on how to approach your answers on:

  • breaking into overseas markets
  • describing the geographical spread of these markets
  • how you overcame obstacles such as regulation, currency fluctuations, local competition etc.

He also explains what is being asked for in the questions around the time frame of an entry.

So, if you’re looking for a steer on the best way to approach your entry, how you can strengthen it and what not to do, this video is definitely worth a view.

Don’t forget that entry to the 2015 Awards closes at midnight on 30 September – that’s only a month away now...  We’ll be sharing video top tips on entering the other categories over the next 2 weeks so look out for those.

If there are any questions we haven’t yet answered please let us know – you can e-mail us at, call our helpline on 0207 215 6880 or post on our LinkedIn, Twitter and blog pages.  We’re a very small team so we’ll ensure we get to your query promptly.


My name is John Rimmer and I work for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

I'm here to talk about the online form for the Queen's Award for International Trade.

I have a printed copy here, but I must remind you that the best way to do this - indeed the only way to do this - is to fill the form in online.

The crux of the application really starts round about Question 11. That asks you to distinguish the difference between your domestic strategy and your international strategy. Most companies trade in the United Kingdom on the good reputation that they've built up over many, many years. Word of mouth is the single most influential marketing tool a company can have. However, when you're going to a new market - be it Germany, be it Brazil, be it South Africa, be it wherever - very often you've never been heard of, so an entirely new skill set is required to break into new markets. The judging panel wants you to show how you overcame those challenges in those markets and presented yourself anew, in a way that perhaps was different to the way that you do that in the UK. Specifically, they ask for examples - of what you did in South Africa, what you did in Germany, what you did in North America - to take that good reputation you have here in the UK and duplicate it in these various markets.

OK, Question 12. Indicate the geographical spread of your overseas markets. This is important. There is great differences within the European Union between say France or Germany or Denmark. Each one of them presents unique challenges, but they are nothing compared to the difference between Germany say, or Brazil, or South Africa, or South Korea, or North Vietnam. The judging panel wants to know how you overcame those differences.

In Question 12.2 state the percentage of total overseas sales. It's important for the judging panel to understand that perhaps your largest single market may well be Germany or France. They want to know the geographical spread, and which of the countries are more important than others.

Question 13, give details of any special factors affecting the trade in your goods and services and how you overcame them. Again, this is a significant question. The committee wants to know that there was not smooth sailing in these in markets; you overcame obstacles. They may well have been regulatory... or they may well have been to do with currency fluctuations... they might be to do with local competition... they might well be to do with the fact that the market was mature, perhaps there was a dominant overseas supplier. You were successful in those markets, so you'll have had to overcome certain problems. The committee wants to know how you did that.

What I would suggest, is that when you fill your application form in, you submit it to a third party, someone who knows very little about your company. If they understand it... if they appreciate its narrative... if they understand the proactive nature of what you did and what you achieved... there is a very good chance the judging panel will too.

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