A tailored support package to support SMEs wishing to Internationalise delivered by consultants with a 50% funded grant
Under the ERDF investment priority 2 of priority axis 3: 3d - Supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow in regional, national and international markets and to engage in innovation processes, the G2 pilot is aimed at SME’s between £5m and £40m turnover that have either not exported before (but have the potential to do so), those that have lapsed or those that want to export more proactively. UK Department for International Trade (DIT) identified that these SMEs have the potential to export successfully and effectively with support – but for various reasons are not doing so.
SMEs that would have attended an event or get in touch with DIT for any support:
1)Go through a triage where International Trade Adviser (ITA) can assess the internationalisation experience
2) SME would be either directed to basics workshops to learn understand more or sent to an ITA for a one to one
3)SME get a full diagnostic with an ITA based at their local chamber of commerce and an action plan is agreed
4)The team from the chamber of commerce would account manage the contracts and support the tender process to recruit the suppliers required. An external supplier would be selected to deliver the support needed
5)The G2 pilot scheme will give SME a grant up to £7k to "buy in" service from an external consultant to implement their plan. DIT will fund 50% of the grant and the SME would have to either pay the other 50% or be able to match it through ERDF (according to the service).

Resources needed

£1M of funding was put aside to support up to 280 companies for the 1 year pilot. The grant fund is 50% from DIT and up to 50% private or/and ERDF
The team of ITAs who deliver the scheme, are based at chamber of commerces across the region. They are specialist advisers which cost about £50k/year.

Evidence of success

It is early days but the idea is to roll out this from 300 businesses to 10000 businesses of any sizes in England. This would roll out the regional pilot into a full scale national scheme.

Difficulties encountered

With this pilot the role of ITAs would shift from delivery to account management. This new model change the dynamic of the ITA and the way DIT work to support companies. Internationalisation support services would multiply the use of public fund

Potential for learning or transfer

Something any region could use to boost the use of the private sector which will leverage the public investment. This initiative would engage with the private sector by funding 50% of the costs with companies (benefiting both the private sector and the supported SME). SME Internationalisation support would be supported by national/regional fund to a certain extent but also allowing to tap into to private sector expertise and encourage it.
The UK Department for International Trade has identified the high potential of a larger number of SMEs to be supported as International Trade Advisers would have less specialise work to deliver. ITAs would initially do the diagnostic but be able to direct the SME to external consultants. The support received by the SMEs would be very tailor made and unique to the SME needs.

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Project
Main institution
UK Department for International Trade (DIT) delivered by West Midlands Chamber of Commerce Limited Liability Partnership (WMCC LLP)
Location
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Start Date
September 2017
End Date
September 2018

Contact

Soizic Linford Please login to contact the author.

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