A package of exporting workshops and grant for supporting activities
West Midlands SME Internationalisation – New to Export, was delivered under the banner of the West Midlands SME Internationalisation Project and was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Project was managed by Coventry University Enterprises Limited and jointly delivered by UK Trade & Investment and West Midlands Chambers of Commerce and aims to increase the number and competitiveness of eligible West Midlands SMEs operating internationally.
The package consisted of a one day introductory workshop on exporting and putting a “Next Step Action Plan” together, followed by either a two day visit to market or one day workshop on a “high growth” market with a £500 grant for further export activity. Companies who attended the workshop could apply for a grant and were supported according to their action plan. It was not on a basis of published call with a deadline but an ongoing open process. Companies were working on a one to one basis with an International Trade Adviser (specialist provided by DIT- UK Department for International Trade) to work on their action plan for internationalisation and applied for further support as appropriate.
More specifically grants were used towards various activities including market visits, attending exhibitions and trade fairs, Internationalising websites, marketing, product testing and IPR development to increase SMEs sales opportunities overseas.
-The cost of of Trade Advisers (55k per year per adviser). The region has 34 currently
-The cost of support staff to complete administration, develop and prepare material for the workshops
- The cost of the venue hire and catering for each event
- The cost of the £500 grant awarded
Evidence of success
It provided a package of support to new to export/inexperienced reactive companies which in three days provided them with the theoretical understanding of export and then allowed them to experience a visit to an overseas market or a workshop on high growth markets with funding. The most popular combination was export workshop and market visit.
This also generated a total of 516 SMEs assisted. This figure is also linked to the non-financial support that was run in parallel with this grant scheme
Potential for learning or transfer
This support could be recreated within other regions using existing initiatives to combine theoretical plus a practical support.
This was delivered in parallel with a grant given scheme. It is important to understand from the SMEs viewpoint the potential full offering they can receive and complement other initiatives which would give SMEs a full package of support.
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