2014 TPO Network Awards panel reveals benefits of winning, encourages applicants
Past winners of the Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Network Awards say participation increases their visibility in the wider trade community and contributes to improved performance within their organizations.
TPOs are now preparing their applications to meet the 16 June 2014 deadline. The applications are reviewed by an adjudicating panel comprised of TPO practitioners, including senior representatives of former winners. This year’s panel features representatives of:
- Advantage Austria
- Dubai Exports
- JAMPRO, Jamaica
- Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation
- ProMexico; and the
- Uganda Export Promotion Board.
2012 winners speak out
JAMPRO, the Jamaican TPO, won the award in the Small Island Developing States category in 2012. According to JAMPRO President Diane Edwards, ‘This [award] has raised the profile of our organization as a facilitator of exporters. The organization has recently launched an Export Max II programme [a mentorship programme for small and medium-sized enterprises] and the title of best TPO will be used to leverage the interest and support of key stakeholders and donors. Already we have received interest from a number of Jamaica’s brand leaders to provide mentorship support.’
Elena Achar of ProMexico, whose export development initiative was selected as the winner in the Developing Country category, says that the award helped staff to improve the reliability of its services and assisted in creating a favourable image of the country.
‘This award validates all the efforts and daily work carried out by the ProMexico staff,’ Achar said. ‘It is a healthy and transparent competition that, at the end, will help to enrich your organization’s activities in favour of the companies of your country.’
TPOs do not have to win first place to realize similar benefits. MATRADE, the Malaysian TPO that hosted the 2012 TPO Network World Conference and Awards, was given a special mention in the Developing Country category in 2010. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Wong Lai Sum said that being recognized by its peers changed the way MATRADE works.
‘[The recognition] spurred us to provide more assistance to OIC [Organization of the Islamic Conference] countries and we reorganized ourselves to do this,’ she said. ‘Staff morale changed. There was more of a determination to do more, to drive harder and be more focused on the things we had to do. We are also determined to keep participating in the Awards and to win.’
Dubai Exports, which is hosting the Awards this year, applied in 2010 and again in 2012. In 2012, the organization was selected as runner-up. Eng Saed Al Awadi, CEO of Dubai Exports, encourages TPOs to apply and reapply because the application process leads to ‘enhanced business processes’. Applying for the award also raises public awareness of the organization, he said.
‘[One of] the most important benefits for us was the ability to share our experience with a wider audience,’ Alwadi said. ‘We are a small agency. To share our successes meant that it helped make the wider community become aware of our agency.’
Both JAMPRO and Dubai Exports have used their participation in the Awards to increase coverage of their work in the media. For example, JAMPRO used the announcement of its award to arrange an interview with a leading radio station in Jamaica and to distribute a press release through various outlets.
Participation in the Awards also results in knowledge sharing among the TPO Network members and creates a platform to improve on already recognized practices. Together, Network members can analyse what works, what does not and under which circumstances.
All TPOs that are officially recognized as the national organizations for trade promotion are eligible to apply for the TPO Network Awards. TPOs can apply under one of four country classifications: Least Developed Countries, Developing Countries, Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
The deadline to apply is 16 June 2014. Winners will be announced during the TPO Network World Conference and Awards, to be held 3-5 November 2014 in Dubai. For more information, please contact the TPO Network Awards team at wtpo-awards[at] intracen.org and visit the website.