Businesses exporting or thinking about exporting from the UK can attend TAP's selected overseas trade shows and conferences, and get grants to offset some costs.
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) and TAP trade challenge partners agree 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.
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
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 the TAP eligibility criteria are 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 either:
- (a) actively investigating export opportunities for your own business having not previously exported
- (b) already involved in exporting from the UK and wishing to grow exports either (i) in up to 6 countries within the EU or (ii) beyond the EU single market
- 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
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.
Contact your local DIT International Trade Adviser for further information about the programme.