On 16 October 2020, Minsters from the Department for International Trade (DIT) announced, as part of the Government’s Export Growth Plan to help businesses in England "build back better" following the pandemic, a £38 million Internationalisation Fund for small businesses to help up to 7,600 SMEs across England grow their overseas trading and strengthen their business.
The fund, which opened at the end of November 2020 until 2023, is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is managed through four regional projects: The Northern Powerhouse Internationalisation Fund, Midlands Internationalisation Fund, South Internationalisation Fund and London Internationalisation Fund. It can be accessed through DIT’s international trade adviser network in England.
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SMEs in England with the following characteristics:
- International high-growth potential with prospects of employment growth or productivity improvement
- A product or service suitable for international trade, or which could be developed for international trade and see international trade as a path for growth
- £500k+ sales/turnover (desirable, but those with lower sales/turnover are eligible)
- Co-investment funding between £1k and £9k - total amount of funding available varies between Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas
- The ERDF support has been allocated by LEPs so the amount available reflects their contributions
- The Fund is available in all LEP areas except Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, which has its own similar scheme
- Eligible expenditure: Advice from third party private sector experts to help SMEs prepare for international trade, which may include: market research, market selection and entry advice, advice on intellectual property rights, cross cultural negotiation support and standards, translation and cultural advice, international trade legal advice, PR support, international social media and search engine optimisation, international marketing, routes to market/agency advice, overseas business environment, and due diligence. Also supports participation in trade fairs, missions and market development visits.
- Ineligible expenditure: production/operational costs, direct subsidies, routine expenditure, capital costs, salary/employment costs, purchase of assets.