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UK Trade and Investment has announced plans to increase the number of grants available to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to expand internationally. Under current guidelines, SMEs can apply for three grants every year, through the UK Trade and Investment's Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), for £1,000, £1,400 or £1,800 to help finance the cost of participating in trade fairs abroad.

From the 1st April 2009, SMEs will be able to apply for a maximum of six grants a year to help exhibit their products or services abroad. On average, TAP provides financial aid to over 3,000 UK businesses every year. This enables the businesses to exhibit at any of the 400 eligible trade fairs overseas, which include Mumbai's 'Frames' film, music and television trade show, Dubai's 'The Big 5' construction show and 'Nanotech' in Tokyo.

Minister for Trade and Investment Gareth Thomas says: 'Small and medium-sized enterprises are the lifeblood of any economy. In difficult times, businesses need to be flexible and innovative and seek out opportunities where they exist. I'm delighted that UK Trade & Investment is backing SMEs by allowing them to explore more markets abroad.

'Small businesses can find it hard to break into new markets on their own, but UKTI is there to help as their springboard for global growth. These new rules give SMEs more opportunities to access foreign markets and enable them to attend follow-up trade fairs in markets where they see potential for their business.'


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