Guidance

Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP)

Businesses exporting from the UK, or investigating export opportunities can attend TAP's selected overseas trade shows and conferences, and get grants to offset some costs.

Overview

Attending overseas trade shows can help you:

  • gain essential market knowledge and make new contacts
  • gain experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows
  • get advice and support from trade experts on how to maximise your presence

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant funding for eligible businesses towards the costs of exhibiting at overseas trade shows.

How the service works

Each year the Department for International Trade (DIT) agree with TAP trade challenge partners which overseas trade shows they will provide grants for UK businesses to attend.

These trade shows include some of the most important events in each sector’s calendar, where the best opportunities exist for UK organisations to access. Businesses take part as a group, led by the trade challenge partner for that trade show.

If the TAP trade challenge partner is a membership-based organisation, there’s no need for participants to become a member to take part in the Tradeshow Access Programme.

View the calendar of supported overseas trade shows:

What you’ll get

DIT can offer grants to eligible businesses taking part in the programme. The grants must not exceed the business’s own expenditure on direct exhibiting costs, for example:

  • exhibition space costs
  • stand costs - including design, construction and stand dressing

In some cases grants may also be agreed to help towards direct conference costs where the purpose of attending is to promote the business, for example:

  • conference fees
  • cost of preparing conference promotional material

Grant levels may be subject to change. The TAP trade challenge partner will confirm the level of grant available, which will be between £500 and £2,500. It will also inform you in writing about any service or management fee charges before you sign up.

The TAP trade challenge partner will support your business at the trade show by:

  • advising and mentoring participants before, during and after the event
  • ensuring that your business is included in the show catalogue
  • providing on-site management of the UK Pavilion and TAP participants
  • using DIT/GREAT/HM Government branding, as appropriate
  • processing and approving TAP applications and claims, including payment of grants to participants after the event

Eligibility

As of 1 October 2017, the maximum number of grants available to individual organisations is limited to 6.

Grants taken from 1 April 2009 onwards, count towards this total if they were either:

  • given under TAP
  • relate to attendance at overseas exhibitions and conferences

The grants can be taken in any overseas country with TAP supported events.

From 1 April 2019 TAP eligibility criteria is changing.

To be eligible for a grant you must be either:

  • a small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) which is defined as an entity engaged in economic activity with less than 250 employees, and an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €43 million (known as a ‘category (i’)’ eligible organisation)
  • a business or organisation with less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of between £83,000 and £5 million (known as a ‘category (ii)’ eligible organisation)
  • a UK university, UK government funded centre of higher or further learning or UK government funded research organisation

DIT reserves the right to review the eligibility of organisations that are distinct and independently operated, but are part of or owned by an organisation itself larger than an eligible organisation.

We aim to have at least 75% to 85% of participants that fall within the definition of category (ii) above as measured across the whole 2019 to 2020 programme of TAP supported events.

In addition, to be eligible you must:

  • be based in the UK (excluding Isle of Man or the Channel Islands unless UK registered)
  • be actively investigating export opportunities for your own business having not previously exported
  • be already involved in exporting from the UK, but have not exported for more than 10 years
  • be within the State Aid limit of €200,000 over any rolling 3 year period
  • not receive any other contributions towards eligible costs which the grant you are applying for will offset in relation to participation at the TAP supported event
  • not have been fully committed to attend the event prior to seeking the grant

You must also be able to demonstrate that you are either:

  • selling products or services which substantially originate from the UK
  • adding significant value to a product or service of non-UK origin, and there are associated economic benefits to the UK

View the Tradeshow Access Programme exhibitor terms and conditions: 2019 to 2020 (PDF, 243KB, 13 pages) .

How to apply

Applications for the Tradeshow Access Programme must be made 8 weeks before the start of the event.

To apply, contact the TAP Trade challenge partner organisation leading the trade show. You can get this information from the calendar of supported events.

The TAP trade challenge partner will send you more information about the trade show, level of grant available and an application form. They will then make the grant application on your behalf to DIT.

If you haven’t applied for a Tradeshow Access Programme grant before, the TAP trade challenge partner will contact a DIT International Trade Adviser (ITA) to help you with your application. The DIT adviser may contact you to discuss DIT services that might also help you with exporting.

Further information

Contact your local DIT International Trade Adviser for further information about the programme.

Published 11 April 2014
Last updated 22 March 2019 + show all updates
  1. Update to TAP terms and conditions, eligibility and inclusion of calendar of events running to March 2020.
  2. Some changes to page text and calendar of events for April 2019 to June 2019 added.
  3. Amendments made to Terms and Conditions and page text.
  4. Added Tradeshow Access Programme calendar of supported events: April 2018 to March 2019.
  5. New terms and conditions effective from October 1 2017 added
  6. Added events for October 2017 to April 2018.
  7. TAP events programme 2017 to 2018 and terms and conditions updated.
  8. TAP events programme updated 6 February 2017.
  9. TAP events programme updated 31 October 2016.
  10. TAP events programme updated
  11. Revised version of TAP calendar added.
  12. Updated Terms and Conditions.
  13. Revised version of TAP calendar added.
  14. Full 2016 to 2017 year update of TAP programme of supported events.
  15. Updated with 2016-17 events
  16. T&C Updated
  17. Updated calendar of events.
  18. Updated events list.
  19. Updated calendar of events.
  20. Updates to current events list
  21. Updated TAP events list
  22. Updated events list
  23. Updated with 2015-16 programme
  24. Updated events list. SEO improvements.
  25. First published.