Tips for applying

Read tips from past judges on what makes a great application

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We asked some of our national judges for their tips on what makes a standout application.

Australian Export Awards judges are industry experts from partner and sponsor organisations, peak industry bodies and government agencies. Over 60 judges are involved in the national judging process.

We spoke to 6 Australian Export Awards national judges to get their insights on what makes a good application:

  • Andrew McKellar, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Jon Saw, Global Engagement Manager, Austrade
  • Dr Chris Chilcott, Deputy Director, Environment, CSIRO
  • Joel Manning, Senior Policy Officer, Australian Government Department of Education
  • Aaron Duff, Global Engagement Manager, Austrade
  • Chloe You, Global Engagement Manager, Austrade.

1. Why you

McKellar advises that you should ‘tell the ‘why’ of your export success – why you have approached the export journey as you have, why you have targeted particular strategies and why this has been successful’.  

Saw looks for ‘a clear, compelling, unique value proposition that differentiates you from the competition. What problem are you solving through your products/services that makes you stand out?’.

Dr Chilcott similarly recommends that you should ‘tell the story of your company, product or service, and how it is meeting a market requirement or fulfilling a niche’.

2. Keep it simple

Dr Chilcott also advises to ‘make sure you provide pithy and succinct responses to the criteria’.

This advice is emphasised by Manning, who recommends ‘avoiding jargon, cliches and vague language, and using acronyms appropriately’.

3. Ace the essentials

Another tip from Saw is to demonstrate you have strong go-to-market fundamentals. This includes ‘an articulate export strategy. It should clearly show how your tactics, plans and strategies would support your business to grow exports across different markets’.

McKellar similarly recommends that you ’be specific and support your application with evidence, such as examples or data.’

4. Communicate your strengths

Manning advises to ‘write your application, not from the mindset of wanting to impress the judges, but rather communicate the strengths and benefits of your export and its impact on the quality of Australian exports’.

McKellar recommends that ‘where there are unique features that have underpinned your success, be sure to let the judges know’. 

Saw also emphasises the importance of ‘astute financial strategy and decision-making. You should clearly detail how the business has achieved sustainable growth overseas and how it plans to continue to grow’.

5. Explain your challenges

As Duff states ‘It’s not all about an increase in export revenue. Sometimes, it's about how the exporter found a unique way to enter a market or overcome a major challenge’.

Manning echoes this advice. ‘Explain the challenges you’ve faced, whether it be in research and development (R&D) or marketing, and how you overcame these. Judges don’t only want to know the good stuff’.

6. Attention to detail

You recommends applicants ‘proofread their responses before submitting, so the content is clear, consistent and has no grammatical errors’.

As Duff advises, ‘don’t expect judges to be fully across your business. Award categories can often include a wide variety of exporters. Explaining your product/service, market, and why you are a leader in it, is useful background’.

Duff has one final piece of advice: ‘Tell us the story of your success. I want to feel like we are on the same team cheering you on.’