Five UK companies are celebrating their success in a nationwide competition to help the next wave of UK businesses expand overseas.

The winning companies will each receive £4,000 of prizes designed to accelerate and develop their growth plans, including an easyJet flight to the market of their choice.

The five winning entries are:

– Kent based company, 'Blooming Simple' – The team got the idea to create a flat-packed flower vase from one of their fathers and is now selling the product into major international markets.

Mia Tui, from Milton Keynes, invented her award winning bag design while living in Vietnam and has since created a range of practical handbags with pockets for everything.

– Leicester based Ohh Deer, is a group of illustrators designing gifts and clothing. They have seen revenues grow exponentially in a year and are now selling products to Urban Outfitters, Paperchase and Topshop.

– Olympus Automation (www.olympus-automation.co.uk/) from Peterborough has a revolutionary industrial cooking technology that reduces the salt content in processed foods by 20% and hugely decreases cooking times. They now plan to break the US market.

See.Sense. is a husband and wife team from County Down, who are creators of the first cycle light that can respond to your situation, flashing brighter and faster in response to road risks.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston said:

"There is no doubt that Britain has the creativity and innovation it needs to compete on the world stage and this competition demonstrates the quality of the UK's small businesses which are driving our economy forward.

"I congratulate the winning companies on their success and look forward to seeing them realise their export potential with the help of UK Trade & Investment."

Ten short listed applicants pitched in person to an expert judging panel yesterday (Tuesday 10th December) to demonstrate their business vision and commercial knowledge. The companies received feedback and advice from the panel, including senior executives from easyJet, Moo.com and the Institute of Export, all of whom have experience of running and working with successful international businesses.

Container vessel by Wilson Adams via Wikimedia Commons

Container vessel by Wilson Adams

The five winners will each receive:

– a return flight to the easyJet destination of their choice

– £2,000 worth of business planning support from an expert accountant from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

– an Institute of Export training course of their choice and one year's membership

– a one year subscription to Croner-i International Trade export legislation guide

– an Export Communications Review by a UK Trade & Investment expert

Ali Gayward, easyJet's UK Commercial Manager, said:

"We're delighted to be offering easyJet flights which will enable the five recipients to aim high, take advantage of overseas business opportunities and develop their ventures outside of the UK.

"easyJet flies over 10 million business passengers each year between more than 30 countries and over 80% of Europe's 50 largest airports. We are making it even easier and more affordable to do business abroad and are fully committed to supporting the Open to Export scheme."

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