Funding boost for small businesses looking to test the European market

Highland Opportunity’s Business Gateway service has received Highland Council and Moray Council backing to launch a new grant scheme aimed at helping small businesses to explore new opportunities in Europe.

The scheme will allow businesses to apply to Business Gateway for a grant which would cover some of the costs associated with attending international trade fairs.

Businesses must show that their attendance at a trade fair is part of their company’s ongoing development and growth programme.

The grant, of up to £400, is being made available – thanks to financial backing from Highland and Moray councils – to businesses that wish to attend a fair as a visitor, but not as an exhibitor.

If you would like to apply for a grant to attend an overseas trade fair of your choice speak to your local Business Gateway Regional Development Officer for further information and download the criteria and application form from the Highland Opportunity website.

Business Gateway Manager, Donald Mackenzie, said: “One of the biggest challenges for businesses who want to explore developing overseas trade is the cost attached to attending and exhibiting at international trade fairs.

“Whilst there is UK Government support for businesses wishing to exhibit internationally there hasn’t been any help available for businesses who want to gauge whether or not an international trade fair is cost effective for their business.”

He added: “The Business Gateway grant will help to reduce the risk to small businesses who want to test the European market.”

The grant scheme is also being supported by another Highland Opportunity service, Enterprise Europe Network. EEN’s European Information Manager, Ilona Warburton is here to help you pick out the correct international trade fair for your business and arm you with all the pre-trip information you need to get the most out of your experience for your business.

She said: “EEN wants to be able to support businesses in terms of their market research prior to attending and seek out potential contacts for them.

“It’s crucial that businesses are supported in the build-up to any international trade event to ensure success and make it a worthwhile experience. EEN can help businesses do that.”

She added: “Thereafter we would hope that businesses who found the experience positive will apply through other funding sources to actually exhibit and start trading internationally.”

The criteria and application form can be downloaded by visiting

For further information contact Business Gateway on 01463 228351.

25 Jul 2013