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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 and unsupportive.

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. UK exports will be reduced and trust in UKTI was lost.

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.

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:-





Department for International Trade

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

The UK Government has continually said that manufacturing and exporting will help lead us out of the current economic downturn.

So at a time when it may seem to make more sense to help UK exporters (and reduce the national debt), the UK's trade and investment body, UKTI, part of BIS, was reducing its budget for International Exhibition Support Schemes (TAP). Funding for the widely aclaimed (by industry) scheme had falen from 20 million (across ALL industry sectors in the UK) in 2004/05 to around 6 million in 2011.

In contrast our EU competitors plough more than ever in to supporting their exporters at overseas exhibitions. Germany, for example had budgeted around 46 million Euros for 2012/13.

The Sponsors Alliance has lobbied government to reverse this so it was very encouraging to see that for the finacial years starting April 2013 and 2014, the treasury announced an increased the budget to UKTI. This has lead to an increase in support to companies, via the TAP to approximately 16m.

There has also been a change in government with regard to working with Trade Associations. During the last administration this relationship had been eroded to the point of almost disappearing. Threfore it was pleasing to see the recent efforts to improve the working relationship between Accredited Trade Associations and UKTI to benefit UK exporters.

The ripping away of previously agreed support (mid year in Oct/Nov 2014, showing a total disregard for agreements drawn up with exporters) has severely damaged UKTI relationship. Since then trust in UKTI has been lost. This has been compounded by numerous changes to senior management and ministers. If the UK is to improve its exports we need a properly funded and stable export plan.

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