Past TPO Network Award winners reflect on benefits of winning and look toward the adjudicating role before them

3 May 2012
ITC News

Past winners of ITC’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO) Network Awards admit that entering the awards is a comprehensive process, but what they also say is that the benefits of winning have gone beyond their expectations.

The biennial awards acknowledge the efforts of TPOs around the world, and this year will specifically recognize the best of trade promotion organization processes. The call for entries for the 2012 Awards is open, and former winners met in Geneva, Switzerland recently in their roles as members of the 2012 Adjudicating Panel.

Apex-Brasil, Enterprise Mauritius, MATRADE (the National Trade Promotion Agency of Malaysia), and UK Trade & Investment were keen to highlight the benefits they had gained since having been commended two years ago.

Apex-Brasil won in the Developing Country category. Ana Repezza, the General Business Manager feels that winning the award boosted staff morale and also prompted the agency to look at their services in a different way. ‘We wanted to build the standards used in our award winning export development initiative into our other services.’ They benefited from the award by being able to use it to show clients how they were being served by a ‘world class TPO’, which in turn provided a means to encourage their partners to improve. ‘We then followed that up with assistance,’ said Repezza. She also shared one of the secrets of their success, ‘Listen to your clients and learn from them how to improve your TPO’s services.’

The winner in the Small Island Developing States category, Enterprise Mauritius, felt that the award facilitated clients to have more trust in them. ‘We are a young organization. Winning has created credibility in the business circle and confidence that we are doing the right thing,’ explained CEO Dev Chamroo. ‘The award has also generated more interest from other trade promotion organizations in Africa – they want to see what others are doing. It spurs discussion because other TPOs ask us about what we did.’ As the new CEO, Mr Chamroo is determined to ‘help the whole organization live up to the award’.

Like many other TPOs, Enterprise Mauritius is using the award to brand their communication tools such as emails, newsletters and their website, which is advancing their global recognition.

For UK Trade and Investment, winner in the Developed Country category, the award has helped to strengthen their relationship with partners and clients alike, said Deputy Executive Director Susan Haird. 'All our stakeholders in the trade industry were delighted. UKTI’s customers appreciate working with a TPO that has been recognized by its peers,’ she adds.

MATRADE received a special mention in the Developing Country category during the last awards. CEO Wong Lai Sum says this recognition generated demand to provide more assistance to countries within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. ‘We reorganized ourselves to do this,’ she says.

She echoed the observations of the other winning panel members by noting that being recognized by their peers strengthened staff morale. She described how the team is more determined to win next time they compete, to do more, drive harder and be more focused in the things they need to do. ‘Never be afraid of change. It may be the best thing for your TPO.’ she added.