New grant fund announced to boost SME global trading aspirations
Exporting businesses in Yorkshire can access co-investment funding help to support their plans, thanks to a new partnership between Chamber International and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Business can apply to the Internationalisation Fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and offering match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 to support exporting businesses, subject to eligibility and availability. The fund is available throughout England, except Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which has its own similar scheme.
The funding, which is being offered as part of Government’s move to strengthen Britain’s position as a global trading nation, is available only through the DIT, which who is working with Capita as fund administrator, but can be accessed through overseas trade specialist, Chamber International. The Yorkshire and Humber DIT office, Barnsley, is processing Chamber International’s nationwide referrals.
To secure funding, businesses must fund around half – 40 per cent – of the total cost of their support in South Yorkshire and Humber; 50 per cent in Leeds City Region, North Yorkshire and the South of England.
The support can be used for market research, intellectual property advice, independent market visits, translation services, consultancy and associated international commercial services; attending trade fairs, where no tradeshow access programme (TAP) funding is available; international social media and search engine optimisation.
In order to qualify for access to the fund, businesses must be based in England and be a small or medium sized enterprise (SME) with up to 250 staff; have an annual turnover of not more than £50m and not be more than 25 per cent owned by an enterprise which is not an SME.
Launch of the fund follows a series of overseas trade initiatives between the Chamber network and government, including establishing the Overseas Business Network Initiative (OBNi), the Export Academy and now the Internationalisation Fund with the aim of increasing the number of exporters and taking advantage of new free trade agreements.
Since the launch of OBNi, a series of international strategic alliances have been set up by Chamber International with overseas chambers of commerce and other bodies which assist overseas trade and which go beyond the support laid down in the OBNi.
These are with British Chamber of Commerce Vietnam, British Chamber of Commerce Turkey, British Business Centres, Dubai; Resolve, which targets North America; Brazil Business Hub, British Business Mexico, AEI Saudi, UK India Business Council, British Chamber of Commerce Singapore and British Chamber of Commerce Indonesia.
Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, says: “The DIT Internationalisation Fund is welcome, bang on time and we are pleased to be part of it.
“Our grassroots experience from working directly with businesses is that a lot of proposals stimulated by the OBNi and our own strategic alliances have had to be placed on hold due to cashflow problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This fund will now enable many of these to get underway which is good for them and the UK economy.”
DIT deputy head, English regions, Yorkshire & the Humber, Simon Mellon, says: “The Department for International Trade helps many businesses of all sizes across Yorkshire and the Humber to find and win business in new markets, using ours network of international trade advisers and other support such as training through the Export Academy, events and missions and our teams around the world.
“We are committed to ensuring Yorkshire and the Humber businesses are able to take advantage of the new opportunities arising from the trade deals the Government are negotiating around the world.
“International Trade has always been a key driver for economic growth nationally and in Yorkshire and the Humberside. International trade generates wealth and jobs but has other benefits as businesses that trade overseas tend to be more innovative and resistant to shocks such as those caused by the Covid19 pandemic.
“The Internationalisation Fund has therefore become available at a critical time for small and medium sizes enterprises. It will play a vital role in the recovery and help them to expand or begin their exporting journeys.”