Internationalisation Fund – grants for SMEs looking to grow in new international markets - PKF Francis Clark
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Internationalisation Fund – grants for SMEs looking to grow in new international markets

Whist the Internationalisation Fund opened back in 2020 its prominence increased last week as it was mentioned as an integral part of the “Made in the UK, Sold to the World: New strategy to boost exports to £1 trillion” announced last month (16 Nov).

It was not clear from the Press Release on the 12-point plan to help UK businesses hit £1 trillion in exports, what, if anything, would be changing as regards the Internationalisation Fund. So, for now I will summarise the information we have on the Internationalisation Fund.

Internationalisation Fund – key elements

The Internalisation Fund is a grant scheme currently available throughout England except Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, which has its own similar scheme (see below). Key elements for the Internalisation Fund based on my understanding are:

Aim Aimed at helping SMEs grow in new international markets
Eligible To qualify for the fund, businesses should meet these eligibility and suitability criteria:

  • Be registered in the UK and based in England
  • Be a Small or Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) with up to 250 employees, an annual turnover of less than €50 million or annual balance sheet not exceeding €43 million
  • No more than 25% of the business is owned by an enterprise which is not an SME
  • Have not received more than €200,000 in public funds in the last three fiscal years
  • Have £500k+ in sales/turnover (desirable, not mandatory)
  • Have international high growth potential with a product or service suitable for export into a new market
  • Have an interest in using the funding for eligible export growth activities
Funding Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity (subject to eligibility and availability).

To secure a grant, you’ll need to fund a proportion of your costs yourself. This varies according to where your business is based and will be either 40 or 50% of the total cost.

Eligible expenditure The fund can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to):

  • Market research
  • IP (intellectual property) advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/SEO
  • Trade fairs (where no TAP funding is available)
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services

For more details I would suggest you look at link and also contact your local Growth Hub to see if they can advise on best entry route into the scheme.

We will be looking to add the Internationalisation Fund into our recently drafted Funding for SMEs factsheets in due course.

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

I asked my colleague based in Cornwall & Isles of Scilly to advise me on what was on offer to businesses based in that region and one of funds he directed me towards was Fast Forward Cornwall – a scheme administered by Business West offering grants of 50% of a project up to a value of £2,499.00. In addition he referred to other sources of support and assistance including Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and Cornwall Trade and Investment.

Other support

As someone based in Dorset I am aware of the Export Academy; a free programme open to owners and senior managers of Dorset businesses with a turnover of up to £500,000. I suspect there may be other similar initiatives operating in other areas of the South West and the logical route to explore what support is available is to contact your local Growth Hub.

PKF Francis Clark

At PKF Francis Clark we support UK businesses looking to invest or trade internationally.

If your business has overseas interests, or you’re looking to expand internationally, you could benefit from PKF Francis Clark’s international tax knowledge and experience. Our membership of PKF International also gives us access to a vast network of connections, operating from over 400 offices in 150 countries globally.

If you have questions on international trade that you think we can help with please do not hesitate to contact me or your usual point of contact here at PKF Francis Clark.

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