What is it exactly?
The Virtual Export Manager (VEM) Programme provides the opportunity for you to work with an export professional on an export specific project which will either develop an overseas opportunity or address a specific technical exporting problem you have, that either you don’t have the expertise to tackle, or are unable to spare a key member of your business team to work on.
How can it benefit my company?
The main benefit of the VEM programme is being able to work with an external export expert in your business, for a time-limited period, who will bring years of expertise, knowledge and skills to work on your specific export project; that either you don’t possess in the business or frees up your otherwise precious time to develop other aspects of the business that only you can. It’s these ‘export opportunities or challenges projects’ that can be a key ‘step change’ in the further growth of your overseas sales.
Who are the export professionals?
The Programme has developed a register of export consultants, referred to as ‘Virtual Export Managers’, who have extensive experience supporting businesses’ exporting ambitions. If you do not have a consultant already in mind, we will attempt to match you with an export professional with the relevant sector, technical export and/ or geographic expertise to develop an export Action Plan to address your particular export project’s objectives and targets. Applicant companies are welcome to apply for funding for a project with a consultant of their own choice already selected.
How much funding can I apply for?
Funding is available on a 50% match-funding basis from a minimum of £1,000 to a maximum of £2,000 for businesses located in the NELEP area; and a maximum of £1,800 for businesses located in the Tees Valley area.
Which companies can apply?
Currently, funding is available to North East based companies* with less than 250 employees and a turnover of less than €50 million, offering UK products or services and demonstrating a commitment to growth through international trade.
* Some sector & geographic exclusions may apply.
What kind of exporting projects are eligible for funding?
We have funded a wide range of exporting projects from both experienced and inexperienced first time exporters, covering a wide selection of sectors, technical exporting issues and overseas markets.
When does the funding end?
Companies in the NELEP area must complete their projects and submit all grant claim payment forms by 29th March 2019. Tees Valley area must complete their projects and submit all grant claim payment forms by 31 December 2019.
Projects must not exceed six months to be completed. Therefore, based on these two factors and the time required to process your application, we would recommend applications are submitted to us ASAP.
“The Virtual Export Manager Programme is helping us access markets across the world, we’re primarily looking at the areas where there is a high level of developments such as the Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand.”
Neil Reed, Managing Director, BIMcert
“To date, Lockpoint has operated almost exclusively within the UK, but the UK market is finite and we identified a need to broaden our trading horizons. The Virtual Export Manager programme enabled us to conduct a comprehensive review of the potential of a number of different markets, assess their potential and, crucially, identify potential agents in those markets. We are now drawing up next steps in respect of the most suitable markets, namely Spain and Portugal.”
Bill Price, Chief Executive, Lockpoint
“Over a six-month period, working with our VEM consultant – Norma Foster, we have significantly strengthened our planning skills and now have a clear plan for the next three years. Before the conclusion of our project we were already seeing a return on our investment and commitment to the VEM process, with vast improvements in operating processes and record sales increases averaging over 100%, compared per month in 2017”.