Guidance

UK Tradeshow Programme

The UK Tradeshow Programme offers government support to help UK businesses attend or exhibit at overseas trade shows effectively.

UK businesses that are currently exporting can apply for support to:

  • exhibit at or attend approved overseas trade shows and conferences
  • potentially receive grants to cover some costs

UK businesses can also apply for support if they’re thinking about exporting but are not currently doing so.

Attending or exhibiting at overseas trade shows can help you gain essential market knowledge and increase your:

  • company’s brand awareness amongst overseas buyers
  • business sales by securing new customers

Accessing support to exhibit at overseas trade shows

The support available through the programme varies.

All successful applicants will receive training on successfully exhibiting at:

  • trade shows in general
  • the specific approved event(s) that they have applied for

Some businesses may also receive a grant of either £2,000 or £4,000 as financial support to cover:

  • exhibition space costs
  • stand costs (including design, construction and stand dressing)
  • conference fees, costs of preparing conference promotional material (where appropriate)

Programme eligibility criteria for exhibitors

You must not have previously received support to exhibit from the UK Tradeshow Programme.

You must:

  • be exhibiting for the first time or wishing to venture into new markets
  • be turning over annually between £250,000 to £5 million
  • not have committed to attending the event before applying for support
  • be actively investigating export opportunities for your own business:
    • having not previously exported, or
    • having previously exported and wishing to grow exports in new markets

Accessing support to attend overseas trade shows

The support available through the programme varies.

All eligible applicants will receive training on how to successfully exhibit at overseas trade shows.

Some businesses will also receive:

  • a bespoke pre-event briefing
  • a curated tour of an overseas trade show
  • contributions towards costs of show entry, travel or accommodation of £200 for European shows, or £500 for shows outside Europe

Availability of these additional services is limited and will be allocated in order of successful applications received.

Programme eligibility criteria for attendees

You must not have previously received any support from the UK Tradeshow Programme.

You must:

  • be attending a show for the first time or wishing to venture into new markets
  • be turning over annually between £85,000 to £250,000
  • not have committed to attending the event before applying for support
  • be actively investigating export opportunities for your own business:
    • having not previously exported, or
    • having previously exported and wishing to grow exports in new markets

Common eligibility criteria

Access to support from the programme is limited.

Organisations can apply for support from each part of the programme once only, subject to programme eligibility criteria.

You must be UK VAT-registered to apply.

General eligibility criteria

Eligible businesses must be small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (fewer than 250 employees), based in the UK (excluding Isle of Man or the Channel Islands), and either:

  • sell products or services which substantially originate from the UK, or
  • add significant value to a product or service of non-UK origin

You may be required to evidence that you meet the criteria.

Financial support eligibility criteria

In addition to the above conditions, for financial support you must:

  • not receive any contributions, from another programme or body, towards the eligible costs covered by the UK Tradeshow Programme
  • not have received government aid in excess of the limits below:
    • if you are a business in Great Britain and state aid rules under the Northern Ireland Protocol do not apply: 325,000 SDR (approximately £332,000)
    • if you are a business within the scope of Northern Ireland Protocol State aid rules: €200,000, except for businesses in the sectors below

Some sectors have a lower limit for government aid. This is due to the Northern Ireland Protocol’s state aid rules.

These limits and sectors are:

  • €20,000 if you are active in the fishery and aquaculture sector
  • €30,000 if you are active in the primary production of agriculture products

UK Tradeshow Programme financial support is likely to constitute state aid or a subsidy to recipients.

For more information, please refer to guidance on the UK’s international subsidy control commitments.

Ineligibility for support

DIT will regard an SME as ineligible if:

  • it has previously received exhibitor support from the UK Tradeshow Programme
  • there is evidence it is planning to close all operations or transfer its assets overseas or offshore jobs
  • the company or individual has a business record or business practices or products which is/are likely to cause offence in the overseas market and/or embarrass the UK government (for example, on corporate social responsibility grounds)
  • it is offering a product which is illegal to produce or sell in the UK or in the target market
  • the company’s product would breach export controls if sold abroad

How to apply

Applications must be made at least 6 weeks before the start of the event.

To apply:

  1. Go to the calendar of supported events.
  2. Select the event of interest.
  3. Complete an application form online.

For further guidance:

Contact us

If you have any questions about the programme, please contact enquiries.uktradeshowprogramme@trade.gov.uk.

Privacy policy

Read our fair processing notice for the UK Tradeshow Programme.

Published 29 November 2021
Last updated 20 January 2022 + show all updates
  1. New guidance on support to attend overseas trade shows that apply from 21 January 2022 added to the ‘Accessing support to attend overseas trade shows’ section.

  2. First published.