Call for proposals: Small Business Champions 2024

This year’s theme for the small business champions competition is: Enhancing Economic Development of Indigenous Peoples through Global Trade. Global trade has the potential to foster innovation for businesses of all scales, and there is a growing global and national commitment to bolster trade opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.

Are you an organization that supports trade initiatives led by Indigenous Peoples or communities? Are you a non-governmental organization that empowers small businesses and entrepreneurs from Indigenous Communities through your development efforts? Do you own a small business that collaborates with or operates within an Indigenous community? Become a Small Business Champions

This year: Enhancing Economic Development of Indigenous Peoples through Global Trade

Global trade has the potential to foster innovation for businesses of all scales, and there is a growing global and national commitment to bolster trade opportunities for Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Peoples are present in over 90 economies, encompassing 5,000 distinct cultures and speaking 40% of the world’s 7,000 languages. They possess, inhabit, or utilize a quarter of the Earth’s surface, playing a crucial role in conserving 80% of the planet’s remaining biodiversity, as stated by the World Bank.

However, the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and interests often remains uncertain, leading to conflicts, environmental degradation, and limited economic and social progress. Moreover, despite constituting approximately 6% of the global population, Indigenous Peoples account for around 19% of those living in extreme poverty.

International trade can serve as a means to provide economic opportunities for disproportionately marginalized Indigenous Peoples, while also promoting awareness and appreciation of their unique cultures among people worldwide.

Join us in becoming a small business Champions!

In 2021, the World Trade Organization’s Informal Working Group of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), and with the backing of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), is seeking your creative ideas to drive economic growth for Indigenous Peoples through international trade.

What should the Small Business Champions proposal entail?

  • Proposals can focus on awareness-raising campaigns, competitions, capacity building, training and mentoring programmes.
  • Proposals should have an obvious international trade angle. For information on past competitions and winning proposals, please see the ICC-ITC-WTO MSME Group Small Business Champions website.
  • Proposals should be designed to be delivered by the entity making the proposal and should not focus on WTO negotiations, or proposed changes to WTO rules.

How to submit proposals for Small Business Champions

Proposals are open to businesses, industry associations, chambers of commerce and non-governmental organizations and should:

  • detail the concept, aim, timeline and other information as appropriate
  • be no longer than three (3) pages
  • Have the approval and informed consent of the Indigenous Peoples group being referenced
  • Optional – include a (maximum 3-minute) video shared via Wetransfer
  • be sent to [email protected] in Word or PDF format by 26 April 2024.

Become a Small Business Champions

This is where you can make a difference! When submitting a proposal to become a Small Business Champion, please ensure that the following points are covered:

  • name of the organization
  • short description of the organization
  • name of the proposed 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)
  • timeline for the project
  • evidence that the Indigenous Peoples have been consulted and have given their approval to submit the proposal
  • how promotion by the ICC, ITC and WTO MSME Informal Working Group can support your proposal.
  • contact person (name, telephone, email)
  • short bios of the persons implementing the project

Small Business Champions Selection process

The selection will be carried out by representatives from ICC, ITC, and WTO MSME and with inputs from WIPO. Winners will be revealed at WTO on MSME Day, 27 June 2024.

Award details

  • All awards are non-financial, and no funding will be provided to participants.
  • ITC will provide training in the area of marketing, branding and pitching and offer tailored technical coaching and mentoring while ICC will provide access to the ICC Academy course. WIPO will provide access to relevant distant learning courses for representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
  • Winning entries will be promoted by ICC, ITC and WTO MSME through their communication channels and
  •  winners will receive a certificate.

For more information on the Small Business Champions Proposal and the Initiative, visit:

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