The WTO, the World Trade Organisation and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) announced on March 14, 2018 the selection of three more proposals submitted under the ICC-WTO Small Business Champions initiative. The proposals were put forward by the Institute of Export and International Trade (UK), eBay (US), and the National Confederation of Industry (Brazil). The proposed activities, including a range of training, capacity-building initiatives and competitions for micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs), will be carried out over the coming months.
Under their proposal, the Institute of Export and International Trade will run a competition called the ‘Open to Export International Business Awards’, aimed at encouraging small businesses around the world to begin trading internationally. The Institute will provide support, training and the online tools to help small businesses put together a ‘global growth action plan’. The businesses with the best action plans will then have the opportunity to present them to a panel of judges at the WTO Public Forum in October. The 20 finalists will receive training in export skills, and the winning entries will receive support from the Institute to put their plans into action.
The proposal from eBay, the ‘eBay Emerging Markets Initiative’, aims at raising awareness among small business communities in emerging countries of the opportunities that online commerce presents for them as independent companies to broaden their customer base. To that end, the Initiative seeks to help MSMEs in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa leverage the eBay marketplace to reach developed market consumers. The Initiative would be executed in partnership with export promotion and development agencies. It would target export-ready and motivated MSMEs, identified through application campaigns; it would provide training on key online commerce issues (marketing skills, access to international payments, cross-border logistics, tax/regulatory); it would offer a package of promotional eBay services and support; and it would showcase successful project participants.
The proposal from Brazil’s National Confederation of Industry aims to provide a series of tools to support MSMEs, to better understand, identify and overcome barriers to doing business in foreign markets. Under this project, which is titled ‘Small Business Without Barriers’, the Confederation will conduct a range of activities, including: launching a survey of small businesses to identify the difficulties they face as they trade internationally; conducting capacity-building roadshows in nine Brazilian states; and providing information and training through brochures, guides, online courses, and videos.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “The proposals we are announcing today come from three different parts of the world, but they share a genuine desire to support small businesses and to help them gain the necessary skills to trade internationally. I commend the Institute of Export and International Trade, eBay and the National Confederation of Industry for their creativity in bringing their ideas to the table. We look forward to seeing these projects implemented, and to the positive impact that they will make for small businesses.”
ICC Secretary General John Danilovich said: “Our aim in launching this initiative last year was to demonstrate the capability and willingness of business to help SMEs further reap the proven benefits of global trade. These three new proposals – from the Institute of Export and international Trade, eBay and the Brazilian Confederation of National Industries – powerfully demonstrate the determination of the private sector to make trade more inclusive, and for that I offer them my sincere congratulations.”
The ICC-WTO Small Business Champions initiative provides a platform for companies and private sector organizations around the world to propose innovative, practical ideas designed to encourage MSMEs to do business across borders.
The call for proposals for the initiative was closed in December 2017. The ICC and WTO are currently reviewing the submitted proposals and will be announcing the final proposals that have been selected over the coming weeks.
The announcement of these three proposals today takes the total number of selected proposals to six. The first three successful proposals were submitted by Google, the Union of Chambers of Commerce of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Mercado Libre.
Once the selected projects have been completed, the businesses will be recognized as ICC-WTO Small Business Champions. Google’s project was the first to be completed – further information on that project is available here.