At the end of May this year (2021), the UK’s Department of International Trade (DIT) launched its new Internationalisation Fund for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) based in England. The little-known scheme provides matched-funded grants of up to £9,000 for companies that qualify.
The UK DIT spearheads the success of British trade worldwide using European Regional Development Funding (ERDF) for UK companies to maximize business opportunities in the international markets. The fund is part of the UK government’s strategic plan to grow its exports by providing additional financial support to SMEs to help them intensify their international trade and stabilize their business operations.
SMEs account for over 99% of all UK businesses and about 50% of private-sector employment and turnover. They are a critical player in the UK’s economic growth, which is why the UK DIT has prioritized them in its export action plan.
How much Internationalisation Fund is available for UK SMEs?
The UK Government set aside £38 million on 16th October 2020 to encourage more than 7,600 SMEs to internationalize. The UK also sought to support the recovery of its firms affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by expanding their overseas trading activities.
What types of activities qualify to receive funding?
- Seeking to start exporting activities
- Entrance into new international markets
- Improvement of international processes
- Businesses striving to increase their export performance significantly
- Substantial job creation in the UK through increased export business
- Development of products or services for new international markets
- Export as a growth plan
How you can spend the funds?
- Trade missions, trade fairs, and independent market visits to discover new international markets and establish links for UK SMEs’ products and services
- Accessing finance to support international growth is financially overwhelming for SMEs to gain stability in the global market
- Understand market standards, regulations, and requirements. Successful export in the international market needs SMEs to keep pace with market standards as they vary from one region to another. Different areas of the global market also have different legal procedures that define business operations
- Sales, market, and research. Market research is capital intensive as businesses must study and understand the needs of their target market and determine whether the products and services meet the needs of the new market
- Consultancy and other international commercial services. SMEs may not have experts familiar with all policies and legal procedures in other parts of the world. They can seek consultancy services from experts. Some business consulting needs may involve legal services and the preparation of operational documents with guidelines and policy procedures
What businesses qualify?
- The company must be based in England
- The company must be a small or medium sized enterprise with up to 250 employees
- No more than 25% of the business can be owned by an enterprise that is not a SME
- Annual turnover cannot exceed €50 million or annual balance sheet does not exceed €43 million
With offices in the US, UK and affiliations in China, Rooney Nimmo has extensive experience working with UK-based companies seeking to do business abroad. If you need advice on setting up in the US, contact one of the NY team who are ready to help – Allan Rooney, Tim Davis, Elannie Damianos, or Abbey Docherty or call +1 212 545 8022, or visit our website – www.rooneynimmo.com.
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