The window for Yorkshire firms to benefit from European funding has been extended, allowing hundreds more companies to benefit.
The move has prompted the free peer-to-peer export mentoring service for the Leeds City Region, ExportExchange.co.uk, to urge businesses to make applications in order to take advantage of the funding.
With more than 400 businesses in the Leeds City Region having already successfully applied for grant funding to help increase international sales since 2017, hundreds more businesses in the region are set to benefit with the funding now extended until the end of 2019.
“This matched funding can be the difference between undertaking export activity or not, and more than ever before, the economy and exchange rate swings have made UK goods and services increasingly competitive overseas,” said Paul Snape, programme director of ExportExchange.co.uk.
“We’re encouraging eligible businesses to make the most of this funding which can be used to support a host of associated export activities from attending a UK trade show where overseas buyers will be present, to undertaking pre-entry research into the target market.”
More than £1.2m has already been paid out in grants to businesses across Yorkshire via the Exporting for Growth programme, delivered by Enterprise Growth Solutions in partnership with the Department for International Trade, and further match-funded grants of up to £2,000 are now available for qualifying activity by regional SMEs.
Aimed at first time exporters or firms focussing on increasing their international sales, the grants can be used to help pay for a range of services including market research, design, international marketing, translation services, and the costs of overseas visits. Companies in the region planning to expand or sell overseas now have until December 31 to apply for grants and complete activity aimed to help launch new products overseas or trade in new markets.
The Meatless Farm in Leeds is one of the many businesses in the region which have benefitted from European funding. The company, which manufactures meat alternative products, exported its first order of plant-based burgers and mince to leading US retailer Whole Foods Market in early August with the States becoming its seventh export market.
Not only has the business been supported by international trade advisers (ITAs), but it also received grant funding to attend the International Food Exhibition in London last March as part of the Northern Powerhouse trade mission delegation.
Robert Woodall, CEO of The Meatless Farm, said: “There’s a huge global trend for meat-alternatives and we’ve had fantastic support from DIT to help us tap into this.
“IFE is a great place to generate retail and food service contacts from around the world which are vital to driving distribution. Lots of businesses think that export grants are only available for attending overseas trade shows, but with so many international buyers coming to UK exhibitions, DIT recognise that they’re also a great way to boost overseas trade.”
Paul Snape added: “If you work for a company in Yorkshire and Humber that hasn’t received a grant in the last two years, and that fits the definition of an SME, then this funding could go towards a trade show, some overseas marketing, or even the expenses for a sales visit to an expo.
“With the support of DIT international trade advisers, the application and claims processes are made as easy as possible. We’re hopeful that more of our members and other new exporters right across the Yorkshire and Humber region will apply.”
Firms based in the Leeds City Region, the Humber region, Sheffield City Region are eligible to apply for up to £2,000 towards overseas trade activities.