For the last 30+ years, small to medium British businesses received financial support to attend international trade shows.
It wasn’t a huge amount; between £1,000 and £3,000, it helped these companies network, market, and arrange deals in foreign markets.
The scheme, Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), has now been scrapped.
Export Partners UK, a group that represents trade associations, says businesses are reeling.
Stuart Whitehill of the Overseas Fairs Division, which supports UK toy firms get to British Pavilions in Nuremberg and Hong Kong, told Toy World;
Some of these companies are now waiting to confirm if they still plan to attend.”
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) may provide some support.
The news, of course, comes on top of Brexit and Covid-19, which has seen UK exports down by 14%.
The entire TAP grant scheme across all sectors is a mere £6m, which compared to the cost of the last 18 months is nothing.”
In contrast, every European country has increased its support to companies and their efforts to attend trade shows abroad.
Stuart also told Toy World;
France, Germany and Italy offer 50% funding to their SMEs whilst Turkey and Russia can offer up to 80%. The UK pavilions at the toy shows are often well represented but at shows in other sectors it is not the case, and the UK often looks quite pitiful. Nevertheless we will continue to push for support of some sort.”
Tabletop game studios and toy companies are not the only ones hit by the decision. The Times has reported on the impact on UK fashion.
Photography credit: Martin Adams.
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