Small businesses can win big in the UPS X-Port Challenge

Your small business could grow significantly if you took advantage of the many opportunities offered by exporting.

Did you know that less than one percent of American companies export? Or that 58% of U.S. companies export to just one country? These are among the facts I certainly didn’t know until I read about the UPS X-Port Challenge, a competition designed to help small businesses grow globally.

American companies export well over $2 trillion of goods and services, but this figure could grow exponentially if more small businesses took advantage of the growth opportunities offered by exporting. And with the Internet, such expansion is easier than ever before.

The UPS X-Port Challenge allows qualifying start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses to compete for $10,000 in international shipping credits with the company.

“The majority of the world’s commerce lies outside the United States, yet exporting remains a challenge for most small businesses,” said Bill Seward, UPS U.S. International President. “Our business solutions help remove some of those barriers, and this contest is another innovative way to help our customers grow in international markets.”

Here’s how it works: Interested companies that qualify in participating markets submit an application online at listing their specialty, global appeal and market challenges. A team of UPS employees will evaluate the applications based on criteria such as uniqueness, presentation, market demand and global readiness. Application deadlines vary by geographic market.

The top 10 applicants from each participating market will pitch their business to a panel of judges from the local international business community. The judges will then select the top three finalists as prize winners. The second and third place winners will receive $2,500 and $1,000 in credits respectively in UPS export shipping.

The winner of each market competition will be included in a virtual run-off where UPS employees will vote on which product is export worthy. The top 3 contestants with the most votes will be invited to a national competition held the first quarter for an opportunity to win a grand prize of $25,000, 2nd Place: $15,000 or 3rd Place: $10,000.

In its third year, the X-Port Challenge exposes participants to valuable insight and resources from an expert panel of judges and industry peers. Previous winners have increased their understanding of international markets, grown sales in other countries and acquired new customers abroad. 3D printing and laser engraver BoXZY won the UPS X-PORT Challenge last year and expanded its growth in international markets. BoXZY acquired customers in more countries and adapted its products to provide a better experience for international customers.

The X-Port Challenge is open to eligible businesses incorporated and registered conduct business under the laws of the states where UPS is running the competition. Visit for official rules, eligibility requirements and a list of participating markets.

The U.S. Commerce Department has plenty of helpful information and tools available to you if you want to explore whether your small business could begin to export or learn how you could do even more exporting than you already are. Learn more at this website.


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