Call for proposals: Small Business Champions 2024

14 February 2024
ITC News

Join the competition and become a Champion!

This year: Empowering Indigenous Peoples' Economic Development through International Trade

International trade can lead to innovation for businesses of every size and there is growing national and international effort to support trade by Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Peoples are present in more than 90 economies, represent 5,000 cultures and speak 40% of the world's 7,000 languages.  They "own, occupy, or use a quarter of the world’s surface area", conserving 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity according to the World Bank.

However, recognition of the rights and interests of indigenous peoples is often insecure, sometimes leading to conflict, environmental degradation, and weak economic and social development. Additionally, although Indigenous Peoples make up around 6% of the global population, they represent about 19% of the extreme poor.

International trade can help provide economic opportunity to some disproportionately marginalized Indigenous Peoples as well as bring awareness about these unique cultures to all people around the world.


And this is where you can step in!

Are you an organization that supports trade by Indigenous Peoples or communities? Are you a non-governmental organization that empowers small businesses and entrepreneurs from an Indigenous Community through your development work? Are you owning a small business working with or from an Indigenous community?


Become a Small Business Champion!

Launched for the first time in 2021, the World Trade Organization’s Informal Working Group of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, together with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), with the support of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), calls for your innovative ideas that empower Indigenous Peoples' economic development through international trade.


The winning proposals will be announced on MSME Day, 27 June 2024.

With this competition, your ideas will not only raise awareness of the difficulties Indigenous Peoples encounter when it comes to international trade but will also promote best practices in international trade, business innovation and resilience.



What should the 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

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 smallbusinesschampions [at] wto.org (smallbusinesschampions[at]wto[dot]org) in Word or PDF format by 26 April 2024.

When submitting a proposal, 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

Selection process

The selection of proposals will be carried out by representatives of the ICC, ITC, and WTO MSME team, and with the inputs of WIPO.

Winners will be announced at the WTO on MSME Day, 27 June 2024.

Award details

All awards are non-financial, and no money will be provided to participants for the project.

ITC will provide training on marketing/branding and pitching as well as offer tailored technical coaching and mentoring as needed, while ICC will provide access to an ICC Academy course. WIPO will provide access to relevant distant learning courses free of charge for representatives of Indigenous Peoples, as well as local communities.

All winning submissions will be promoted by ICC, ITC and the WTO MSME Group through their communication channels and all winners will receive a certificate.


For more information on the Proposal and the Initiative, visit:

English: WTO | ICC-ITC-WTO MSME Group Small Business Champions

French: https://www.wto.org/french/forums_f/business_f/msme_sbc_f.htm

Spanish: https://www.wto.org/spanish/forums_s/business_s/msme_sbc_s.htm