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The Sponsors Alliance

For most of the last 10 years UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and now the Department for International Trade has changed from a major supporter of UK industry to one that is almost invisible, unsupportive and at times damaging.

During 2012 to 2013 a significant investment in Tradeshow Access Programme support had lead to a huge increase in SMEs starting to export and going in to new markets.

In October 2014 UKTI decided to cut support to the Tradeshow Access Programme (this programme gives grants to new and new to market SME exporters) mid year, breaking agreements arranged a year previously. This caused the cancellation, where possible, to UK groups exhibiting overseas, financial hardship to companies and some ATO's.

In 2016 UKTI delayed the release of support to companies for the Tradeshow Access Programme for the 2016/17 financial year. This reduced the number of events and size, where UK groups were present at overseas exhibitions.
The new Department for International Trade has carried on where UKTI left off, again delaying - even further this time - the announcement of support for 2017/18 and then cutting the number of grants available to companies to 6 (from 12).
2018 has seen yet further delays and cuts to the number of grants.

Sponsors Alliance members reprent many sectors accross the UK (see member list) and in turn they help their members to export through overseas market information, UK organised groups at overseas exhibitions, providing advice and mentoring.

We take UK companies to export opportunities through exhibitions, missions, market research and general advice.

If the UK economy is to rebalanced and continue to grow it's exports, the govenment must deliver a consistant and were appropriate, properly funded, stratgery to encourage companies to export.

The Sponsors Alliance believes a funded Tradeshow Access Programme, that compares with our EU competitors, will significantly help SMEs to achieve this.


If you support the Sponsors Alliance position and wish to comment, please email the the Sponsors Alliance using the form below:-

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Department for International Trade

New and existing UK exporters in most industry sectors find exhibiting at overseas exhibitions one of the best ways to start or improve their exports.

Various reports and surveys have shown that for every pound of support, under the DITís Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) to help an SME exhibit at an overseas exhibition or conference, will return at least £30 of revenue.

The UK Government has continually said that manufacturing and exporting will help lead the UK to narrow the trade gap, yet the Department for International Trade, continues to reduce its budget for International Exhibition Support Schemes (TAP) while expanding its workforce to more than twice the size of UKTI

Funding for the widely acclaimed scheme has yo-yoed from £20 million (across ALL industry sectors in the UK) in 2004/05 to around £6 million in 2011/12. then up to £13.6m in 2014 and back to around £7m in 2017. Germany, for example, budgeting around 46m Euros for last year.

In July 2016 the Department for International Trade was formed and incorporated UKTI. Despite a large increase in staff DIT has continued where UKTI left off. Firstly cutting in half the number of grants companies can use and doing it mid-year, then trying to change the terms and conditions once grant lives have been agreed. All of this, including confirmation of support has delivered extremely late in the last two years.

If the UK is to improve its exports, we need a properly funded and stable export plan.
One that not only helps companies with enough support, given well in advance but something that shows the government really does want to help companies export by putting a metaphorical arm of encouragement around them.

Sponsors Alliance - Driving UK Exports

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