Funding to help Sandwell SMEs reach international markets

Firework exploding on a dark skyFunding is available to Sandwell SMEs looking to increase their sales in international markets. The Midlands Internationalisation Fund is available to small businesses with high international growth potential and those with a product or service suitable for export.

The grant funding is provided by the Department for International Trade (DIT) using European Regional Development Funding (ERDF). The fund was launched back in December 2020 and has already helped some local businesses to achieve considerable success in international markets.

Wolverhampton-based business Absolute Collagen is one such example, as the company has gone from kitchen table start-up to a multi-million business in just over three years. With help from DIT, Absolute Collagen is on target to increase its turnover to £15m this year and has its sights set on doubling that through international sales over the next three years.

Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 are available for businesses in the borough that meet certain criteria. Funding availability is subject to Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) area funding.

To apply your business must meet certain criteria, including being a small or medium sized enterprise with up to 250 employees and no more than 25 per cent of the business being owned by an enterprise which is not an SME. ​​Annual turnover cannot exceed €50m.

To secure a grant, businesses will need to fund a proportion of the costs themselves. This varies according to where the business is based and will be either 40 or 50 per cent of the total cost.

The funding can be used to support areas including (but not exclusively limited to):

  • Market research
  • IP (intellectual property) advice
  • Translation services
  • International social media/SEO
  • Trade fairs (where no Tradeshow Access Programme funding is available)
  • Independent market visits
  • Consultancy and other international commercial services.

To apply contact DIT’s regional network and agree an export action plan. Application advice can be provided if appropriate. Further details of the fund can be found on the DIT website

For more information and advice on how to gain funding for your Sandwell business visit our Access to finance page

For support on how to grow your business by taking on bigger contracts, hiring more staff, launching products or services or accessing new markets, visit our Growing your business page.