The Internationalisation Fund is part of a package of support available to SMEs through DIT and provides co-investment of between £1k and £9k to help SMEs overcome tangible barriers to internationalise their business and enter new markets. The fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), provides £38m in co-investment split across four regional projects, The Northern Powerhouse Internationalisation Fund, Midlands Internationalisation Fund, South Internationalisation Fund and London Internationalisation Fund.
Further information in relation to the fund can be found at: https://www.great.gov.uk/campaigns/internationalisation-fund-for-english-businesses/
DIT provides a great deal of information relating to international market opportunities, free trade agreements and support services https://www.great.gov.uk/. The Internationalisation Fund can help realise or bring forward plans to take advantage of those opportunities.
Applications will be open until December 2022 with all supported activities to be completed by March 2023.
Funding is accessed via the International Trade Adviser service; a network of regional International Trade Advisors (ITAs) working with businesses to provide export support and develop an export action plan.
Availability of funding is determined by allocations through Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). Match funding is against total eligible costs with a contribution from the Internationalisation Fund of 50% (or 60% in some Local Authority areas).
Eligibility Criteria and funded activities
To apply you must be an SME with a trading address in England, demonstrate high international growth potential and have a product or service suitable for international trade.
The funding can be used to support a wide range of activities and is primarily aimed at supporting SMEs to get the advice and professional services required to prepare for and enter new international markets.
This may include market research, market selection and entry advice, advice on Intellectual Property, translation and cultural advice, international trade legal advice including regulatory requirements, PR, international social media and search engine optimisation, international marketing, routes to market/agency advice, and due diligence. Participation in Trade Fairs, Missions and market development visits may also be supported.
Other DIT Support
- The Export Support Service is the first point of contact for UK businesses looking to find answers to practical questions about exporting to Europe. From this year the service will be expanding to cover more global markets. Businesses can access the Export Support Service by visiting gov.uk/ask-export-support-teamor by calling 0300 303 8955.
- The UK Export Academy gives businesses the knowledge and skills to sell to customers around the world by learning from experts in international trade. Since its launch in mid-November, over 1,500 businesses have signed up to the UK Export Academy from across the UK.
- The newly launched UK Tradeshow Programme aims to educate businesses to maximise their impact at international tradeshows, whether as exhibitors or visitors. The exhibitor element of the programme provides financial support and the attendee element (due to be launched this month) provides support with visit costs.
- UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s world-class export credit agency, is expanding the broad range of insurance, guarantees and loans to better support the needs of UK exporters backed by HMG’s balance sheet of £50 billion risk appetite. Under the strategy, UKEF is improving its offer to support investment into UK exporting operations, clean growth sector exports and SMEs selling overseas.
- The ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ campaign is designed to encourage business owners to develop a global mindset, demonstrating how exporting can help long term growth. Launched in November 2021, the campaign reaches SME decision makers through a multi-channel approach.
The project is receiving up to £40m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding
 Funding remains available in the majority of LEP areas although London is currently fully subscribed. Funding may become available through natural attrition or if further allocation becomes available.