Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP)


10th January 2019




Attending overseas trade shows can help you:

  • gain essential market knowledge and make new contacts
  • gain experience in attending and getting the most from overseas trade shows
  • get advice and support from trade experts on how to maximise your presence

The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides grant funding for eligible businesses towards the costs of exhibiting at overseas trade shows.

How the service works

Each year the Department for International Trade (DIT), with the relevant TAP trade challenge partners, agrees which overseas trade shows they will support UK businesses to attend, with grants. These trade shows include some of the most important events in each sector’s calendar, where the best opportunities exist for UK companies to access. Businesses take part as a group, led by the trade challenge partner for that trade show.

If the TAP trade challenge partner is a membership-based organisation, there’s no need for participants to become a member to take part in the Tradeshow Access Programme.

View the calendar of supported overseas trade shows:

What you’ll get

DIT can offer grants to eligible businesses taking part in the programme. The grants must not exceed the business’s own expenditure on direct exhibiting costs, for example:

  • exhibition space costs
  • stand costs - including design, construction and stand dressing

In some cases grants may also be agreed to help towards direct conference costs where the purpose of attending is to promote the business, for example:

  • conference fees
  • cost of preparing conference promotional material

Grant levels may be subject to change. The TAP trade challenge partner will confirm the level of grant available, which will be between £500 and £2,500. It will also inform you in writing about any service or management fee charges before you sign up.

The TAP trade challenge partner will support your business at the trade show by:

  • advising and mentoring participants before, during and after the event
  • ensuring that your business is included in the show catalogue
  • providing on-site management of the UK Pavilion and TAP Participants
  • using DIT/GREAT/HM Government branding, as appropriate
  • processing and approving TAP applications and claims, including payment of grants to participants after the event


As of 1 October 2017, the maximum number of grants available to individual companies is limited to 6. Grants taken from 1 April 2009 onwards count towards this total. The grants can be taken in any market.

To be eligible for a grant you must:

  • be based in the UK (excluding Isle of Man or the Channel Islands)
  • be a small or medium-sized enterprise, UK university, UK government funded centre of higher or further learning or UK government funded research organisation
  • be actively investigating export opportunities for your own business
  • be a new exporter, which is a new exporter who has not exported in the last 12 months or whose export activity is confined to reactive exports only
  • or be a sustaining exporter, with less than 30% of your turnover represented by exports, who is at risk of stopping exporting
  • or be a growing exporter, which is high growth, scale up or an experienced exporter, seeking to grow exports beyond the EU
  • have exported for no more than 10 years
  • be within the State Aid limit of €200,000 over any rolling 3 year period
  • not receive any other public funds towards eligible costs for the grant you are applying for
  • not have been fully committed to attend the event prior to seeking the grant

You must also be able to demonstrate that you are either:

  • selling products or services which originate from the UK
  • adding significant value to a product or service of non-UK origin

View the Tradeshow Access Programme exhibitor terms and conditions: 2018 to 2019 (PDF, 131KB9 pages.

The Tradeshow Access Programme exhibitor terms and conditions for 2019 to 2020 will be published in due course.

How to apply

Applications for the Tradeshow Access Programme must be made 8 weeks before the start of the event.

To apply, contact the TAP Trade challenge partner organisation leading the trade show. You can get this information from:

The TAP trade challenge partner will send you more information about the trade show, level of grant available and an application form. They will then make the grant application on your behalf to DIT.

If you haven’t applied for a Tradeshow Access Programme grant before, the TAP trade challenge partner will contact a DIT International Trade Adviser (ITA) to help you with your application. The DIT adviser may contact you to discuss DIT services that might also help you with exporting.

Further information

Contact your local DIT International Trade Adviser for further information about the programme.

Case studies

Find out how DIT’s Tradeshow Access Programme helped UK companies export successfully:

Department for International Trade

The Department for International Trade is a UK government department responsible for managing trade agreements between the UK and foreign countries, as well as for encouraging foreign investment and export trade.

Back to news