The Internationalisation Fund
The Internationalisation Fund
Are you a business that already exports? Do you need financial support to help your business expand into international markets? If this sounds like you, then the Internationalisation Fund, offered by the DIT, might be able to give you a helping hand. These match-funded grants are valued between £1,000 and £9,000, with a view of being put towards future business activity. The Internationalisation Fund is only available in England and is facilitated through regional offices.
It’s worth noting that you will be required to put some of your own funding towards this project, with the Internationalisation Fund providing either 40% or 50% of the cost towards your agreed project. The Internationalisation Fund is part of the Government’s Export Growth Plan, aimed at helping SMEs to develop their trading overseas and strengthen businesses following the pandemic. You’ll need to work with your regional DIT office to access the funding provided through this programme.
We came across the Internationalisation Fund when one of our Finance Directors was assisting an automotive client during the lockdown. Their Local Enterprise Partnership pointed them towards the Internationalisation Fund. We’re taking an in-depth look at the Internationalisation Fund, including the eligibility criteria and what it can be used toward.
How it Works
With the Internationalisation Fund, you will have to fund a portion of the related costs yourself. Depending on where your business is located, the fund can cover 40% or 50% of the total relevant cost.
You can put this funding towards support areas, including market research, translation services, IP advice, and international social media. It can also be used towards trade fairs, where TAP funding is not accessible, and for independent market visits. While this list is not the entire extent of what is covered by the fund, it can also be used for consultancy and international commercial services.
The funding cannot be used towards production or operational cost, employee costs, asset purchase, or direct subsidies.
The Internationalisation Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and has the following criteria.
- Your business must be based in England.
- Your company must be an SME with up to 250 employees.
- No more than 25% of the business can be owned by an enterprise, as this would not qualify it as an SME.
- Your annual turnover must not exceed €50 million, or your annual balance sheet must not exceed €43 million.
- Your product or service should be deemed eligible for internationalisation if you don’t already export.
For your project to be eligible, it must have a minimum value of £2,000 and a maximum value of £18,000 – with up to 50% grand funding available through the Internationalisation Fund. Your business must have international high growth potential, with the possibility of leading to employment growth and improved productivity.
Your service or product should be suitable for international trading or can be developed to suit international trade. It’s ideal for your business to have £500k+ in sales or turnover, although businesses with a lower turnover than that can still be eligible.
Before you apply for your Internationalisation Fund, you’ll have to agree on an export action plan with a DIT International Trade Advisor to set out how you can grow an element of your business through international trade and export. If the DIT International Trade Advisor agrees that your plan is appropriate and achievable, they will give you the information on how to make your application to the Internationalisation Fund.
About the Internationalisation Fund
The Internationalisation Fund is valued at £38 million and is available for small and medium-sized enterprises. It was announced in October 2020 alongside 64 new International Trade Advisors and an Export Academy in three regions of England.
These initiatives were announced to facilitate international growth and overseas trade to help SMEs recover from the economic impact of the global pandemic.
The support provided by the Internationalisation Fund is expected to help up to 7,600 SMEs in England. This funding is available until 2022 and is managed through four regional projects: Northern Powerhouse, Midlands, South, and London.
The co-investment funding of between £1,000 and £9,000 is available through the Local Enterprise Partnership areas, who are allocated the ERDF funding to be allocated. It’s worth noting that the Internationalisation Fund is not available in Cornwall or the Isle of Scilly, as they have their own schemes with a similar policy and purpose.
The Internationalisation Fund is ideal for businesses looking to pivot towards the overseas market to offset the economic impact of the pandemic in the UK. As the funding is facilitated through the four regional offices, you’ll need to contact your Growth Fund. A DIT Advisor will work with you to plan an export action plan on how you can use the Internationalisation Fund to further your business’ growth.
The purpose of the fund is to help the UK ‘build back better’ following Brexit and the global pandemic. Graham Stuart MP, Minister for Exports, has described the programme as part of a call for exporters to “lead the national resurgence” in the coming years. The packages are designed to help businesses early on, with the additional support of Trade Advisors and the Export Academy.
If the Internationalisation Fund isn’t suitable for your business, there are other grants – including the Brexit Support Fund – being offered by the government right now. You can check through our website to find out more about the different types of funding available for SMEs across the UK.
At FD Capital, we offer professional advice and assistance to help your business recover from the pandemic and develop trade internationally. You can use the funding provided by the Internationalisation Fund to put towards this work.
Do you need help understanding the new trading rules between the UK-EU? Call us today at 020 3287 9501. We can also help recruit a part-time Finance Director to help your business long term. FD Capital is also available to assist with other grant programmes, along with recruiting a Finance Director in London, the surrounding M25 area, and the West Midlands.