Small Business Champions

ICC-WTO Small Business Champions

The 'ICC-WTO Small Business Champions' initiative was launched by the WTO and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to facilitate participation by smaller companies in international trade. It provided a platform for companies and private sector organizations around the world to propose innovative, practical ideas designed to encourage micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to do business across borders. Those businesses putting forward successful proposals were recognized as 'ICC-WTO Small Business Champions'. The period for submitting new proposals has now closed.

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Successful proposals



Small Business Champions

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Despite their economic importance in developed, developing and least-developed countries, MSMEs' share of trade is disproportionately small, often because they are unaware of the potentially wider market and because they traditionally have not had the resources to navigate sometimes complex trading procedures. But new technologies are helping to pare back these obstacles and create a more level playing field for smaller companies in international trade. Helping more MSMEs to trade internationally is an important step in building a more inclusive trading system that benefits a wider array of citizens.

Call for proposals

The ICC and the WTO are calling for businesses and private sector organizations to step forward with new and innovative proposals which can help MSMEs to participate in international trade. The aim is to raise awareness of the barriers that MSMEs face in doing business across borders, highlight the experiences and success stories of those MSMEs that are already trading, facilitate access to critical information, and raise skills among MSMEs to enable them to diversify export markets.

What kind of proposals are we looking for under this initiative?

  • Proposals could take the shape of, for example, awareness-raising campaigns, competitions or capacity building, training and mentoring programmes.
  • The ICC and the WTO will use their shared platform to support and promote successful proposals. The precise support provided by the ICC and the WTO will depend on the nature of the proposals received. The ICC and the WTO could, for example, help to promote initiatives and host events or provide expertise and institutional support. No financial contribution will be provided by the WTO or the ICC to implement proposals.
  • Proposals should be designed to be delivered by the entity making the proposal. Proposals should not focus on WTO negotiations, or proposed changes to WTO rules. Such ideas can be put forward through different fora.

What is the process for submitting proposals – and how will they be selected?

  • Proposals should detail the concept, aims, timelines and other information as appropriate. Proposals should be no longer than three pages. Proposals are only open to the private sector and representative bodies. All proposals should be sent to the following address in Word or PDF format: [email protected]
  • The call for proposals is open until the end of 2017. There is no limitation as to the number of proposals that may be selected. The selection of proposals will be carried out by the WTO Secretariat and the ICC. The successful proposals will be announced by the ICC and the WTO on a rolling basis.

Key information to be provided

When submitting a proposal, please ensure that the following points are covered:

  • name of the organization
  • contact person (name, telephone, email)
  • short description of the organization
  • name of the proposed project
  • timeline for the project
  • challenge faced/issue to be addressed
  • short description of the project, including activities to be organized
  • aim(s) of the project (including any specific outcomes)
  • how the ICC/WTO can contribute to the implementation of the project.
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"I have heard many great ideas from the private sector over recent months about how we might be able to help MSMEs to trade. This initiative is our response – it is about capturing some of those ideas and using the shared platform of the WTO and ICC to help make them a reality. I look forward to seeing innovative proposals aimed at raising awareness among MSMEs of the opportunities that trade can provide, and how they can seize those opportunities."

Roberto Azevêdo, WTO Director-General


“Policy reforms have an important role to play in driving MSME exports. But we also think it's time to take a different approach to these problems by leveraging the power of the private sector. This new initiative will seek to harness the knowledge, creativity and networks of the global business community to inspire and support MSME growth. We call on businesses and private sector organizations across the world to play their part as small business champions.”

ICC Secretary General John Danilovich

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