EXPORT is big business. Last year, products and services worth more than £13.6bn were exported around the world from the south west of England.

As a result, the Dorset Business Awards, in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo, has added the Dorset Export Award, sponsored by Atlas Elektronik UK, to reward those who are thriving through international trade.

Sponsor Atlas Elektronik UK is also the current holder of the Company of the Year Award. The company is a leading provider of science and technology to the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Navy and other defence departments and corporate customers internationally.

Entry is open to any business which has a BH/DT postcode, from multi-nationals or their subsidiaries which have a major presence in Dorset to small private companies. Entrants must have been trading for at least three years and have a record of international trade during this period.

Entrants should include details of:

Commitment level to international trade n Achievement of sales into new markets or an increase in export turnover

Training initiatives in place for staff to help win or develop new export business

How products and/or services are marketed in export countries

Future export growth aspirations Sam West of Atlas Elektronik UK said: “International trade is one key to wealth creation; making companies stronger and more competitive. This award will be presented to a company that is successfully breaking into international markets with dynamic products or services and will celebrate those companies who are really trying to put Dorset on the international map.

“After winning the Company of the Year award last year, we decided not to enter in 2014 as we felt that for us, we had already won the most prestigious award category.

“One of the reasons that we won was our innovation and export success and we feel that we are well placed to judge the Dorset Export Award.”

Three finalists will be shortlisted for this award and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) will provide each Finalist with a £1,000 prize to use on their Overseas Market Introduction Service. This service will put finalists in touch with international market experts who can offer focused advice and assistance tailored to their requirements.

The awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station, Wave 105, and are free to enter. Entries can be submitted via dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk or by printing an entry form. The closing date is Friday September 12. Entrants do not need to be a member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For further information about the awards, sponsorship opportunities or to reserve tickets for the gala dinner at the BIC on November 27, call Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.

Atlas Elektronik UK, based in Winfrith, are world leaders in underwater defence technology and specialise in harbour security, unmanned systems, mine counter measure operations and towed arrays. As a systems integrator and prime contractor in major maritime programmes, the firm is the leading supplier of innovative technology in the maritime domain. The firm is one of the county’s largest employers of scientific and technical staff with a workforce of more than 200 employees.