New fund designed to boost SMEs’ global trading aspirations

Exporting businesses in Yorkshire can access co-investment funding to support their plans, thanks to a partnership between Bradford-based Chamber International and the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Business can apply to the Internationalisation Fund, which is backed 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 funding, which is being offered as part of the Government’s move to strengthen Britain’s position as a global trading nation, is available only through the DIT, which is working with Capita as fund administrator, but can be accessed through overseas trade specialist, Chamber International.

The Yorkshire and Humber DIT office, in Barnsley, is processing Chamber International’s nationwide referrals.

To secure this backing, businesses must fund 40% of the total cost of their support in South Yorkshire and Humber and 50% 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% owned by an enterprise which is not an SME.

Chamber International director, Tim Bailey, said: “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 Overseas Business Network Initiative and our own strategic alliances have had to be placed on hold due to cashflow problems caused by the 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, added: “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 COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Internationalisation Fund has therefore become available at a critical time for small and medium sized enterprises. It will play a vital role in the recovery and help them to expand or begin their exporting journeys.”