Funding applications are now open
We are accepting funding applications for activity taking place in the 2019/20 financial year (to 31 March 2020).
Bid Enhancement & Support can be applied for in one or two ways – financial support or Government Advocacy (soft power support):
Financial support is available up to the value of £20,000 to support cities in bidding for international business events. Funding granted will assist in bid costs for an international business event that is not currently held in the UK, to help boost the potential of winning it for the UK. Exceptional proposals, backed by a strong business case, requiring more than £20,000 per bid, may be considered on a case by case basis (subject to available funds). In exceptional circumstances, proposals will be considered for applications requiring less than £5,000 in support.
Funds could be used to support the following, indicative activities:
- Support the bid pitch, including costs of producing the pitch or supporting the attendance of one destination representative at the pitch, up to a recommended value
- Towards sales and marketing activity on territory at the bid pitch, to increase awareness and encourage voters to favour the UK bidder
- Towards media / social media activity in support of the bid, such as industry /sector channels and networks relating specifically to the sector of the event being bid for
- A contribution towards communications and digital activity, website, live streaming, social media, film, webinar, e-newsletters or other content to support the production of a bid
- A contribution towards translation costs of a bid
- Support towards a site visit of the shortlisted UK destination
These serve as examples and VisitBritain welcomes suggestions from applicants on other forms of support that could enhance bidding and increase the opportunity to win.
Criteria 2019-20 for Bid Enhancement & Support
All applications will be assessed against the following criteria. If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the questions, then the event is eligible to apply but there is no guarantee that all events or activity suggested will be deemed appropriate or offered grant funding. However, the event may still benefit from Government Advocacy if the following criteria is met.
- Will all grant funded activity occur in this financial year? Expenditure must be spent and claimed in arrears within this financial year which ends on 31 March 2020. No pre-payments for future financial years are permitted, but the event can itself be taking place in future years.
If the answer is 'No' for this question but the event activity will occur between April 2020 and 31 March 2021, please complete this enquiry form (Word, 48KB) to register interest for potential future event support grant funds. Please note, there is no guarantee of future funding.
- Is the bid for an ‘international business event’ for a professional, trade, B2B or academic audience? This includes tradeshows/exhibitions and conferences/congresses.
Bids for consumer/ B2C events, festivals, sport and other events are NOT eligible to apply.
- Is the bid for a business event to be hosted in Great Britain or Northern Ireland?
- Are you the sole UK bidder for the event? Applications will only be considered when the applicant is the sole UK candidate for the event.
- The applicant is a Convention Bureau (CVB)/ Destination Management Organisation (DMO). Venues and event organisers who are partnering with CVBs/DMOs are eligible to apply. If applicant is not a CVB/DMO, has the application been discussed and agreed with local CVB/DMOs prior to application?
- Does the event clearly align with one of the following priority sectors for UK industry?
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Financial Services
- Food & Drink
- Health & Life Sciences
- Smart Cities
- Does this funding application support new, additional activities to support the bid? The following does not qualify for support from the fund, activity already confirmed to take place, ‘business as usual’ costs, such as, but not limited to, help with running costs (e.g. rent, overheads, etc.), salaries for existing or new positions within your organisation and capital expenditure/replacing equipment. Note, funding from this programme cannot be used to pay hosting fees or in retrospect of expenditure already made.
- If successful, will bid marketing activity incorporate approved GREAT Britain campaign branding? Any marketing activity funded by this programme will require the inclusion of approved GREAT Britain Campaign branding. The Campaign showcases the best of what the nation has to offer, to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain. You will be given access to the brand guidelines assets and contacts to approve the brand’s use. Any activities that could bring the Campaign into disrepute do not qualify for support from the Programme.
- If successful, will you be able to supply an evaluation plan that measures the success of funded activity? If your application is conditionally approved, you will need to provide and agree evaluation plan that includes robust methodology that measures tangible outputs and outcomes from all funded support. Reporting is not restricted to the funding period, and could take place in future financial year.
- If successful, will you be able to provide the following, necessary information? Completed grant claims to draw down funding, which must include copies of invoices and receipts as evidence of payment. A project monitoring report alongside each grant claim highlighting all GREAT branding utilised e.g. marketing materials and good quality images from event activity including the GREAT brand.
- Has your organisation received less than €200,000 in de minimis State Aid within the past 3 financial years? If your answer is No to this question, you cannot proceed with an application. This grant fund is awarded under the European Commission’s State Aid Regulations which allows up to a maximum value of €200,000 of de minimis state aid to an organisation over a rolling 3 year financial period. This value can be a combination of grants over the given period. State Aid is any advantage granted by public authorities through state resources on a selective basis to any organisations that could potentially distort competition and trade in the European Union (EU). Please note, if your application is successful, both a State Aid Declaration from the organisation applying for support and a letter from a solicitor or legal opinion, confirming compliance with State Aid rules will be required before a grant can be awarded. In particular, such confirmation must specify that the organisation and the applicable project is state aid compliant.
(Criteria last updated: May 2019)
- Grants will be paid in arrears on the basis of the actual reimbursement of eligible project costs. If successful, you will need to provide completed grant claims to draw down funding, which must include copies of invoices and receipts as evidence of payment, and a project monitoring report alongside each grant claim.
- Applicants are advised that any marketing activity funded from this programme will require the integration of approved GREAT Britain Campaign branding. This Campaign showcases the best of what our whole nation has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign ever, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain.
- Any activities that could bring the GREAT Britain Campaign into disrepute, do not qualify for support from this programme.
- Funding from this programme cannot be used to pay hosting fees.
- This grant funding opportunity is being operated by VisitBritain as a de minimis scheme. If successful, you will need to declare all other sources of de minimis aid which your organisation has received over the past three calendar years. At the point a conditional grant offer is made, applicants will need to submit both a State Aid Declaration and a letter from a solicitor or legal opinion, confirming compliance with State Aid rules. In particular, such confirmation must specify that the organisation and the applicable project is state aid complaint. For further detail, please refer to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) state aid manual, which includes details of de minimis Regulations. Please note any funds awarded must be within State Aid limits, as this fund is provided under de minimis aid. If the total funding from State sources exceeds €200,000 de minimis aid over a rolling three year period (at applicable exchange rate), then we are unable to award the grant.
- If successful, we will conduct a credit check on your organisation and other necessary due diligence checks. You will also need to provide confirmation of your VAT recovery status.
Who can apply?
We welcome applications from Convention Bureau (CVBs)/ Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), and venues and event organisers who are partnering with CVBs/ DMOs.
Preference will be given to grant applications from SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises), those organisations who have less ability to access financing to support such growth activities, or events which have potential for high economic impact and increase in delegates. Government and the European Commission’s definition of an SME is an entity engaged in economic activity that employs fewer than 250 people, and has a turnover less than or equal to €50 million, or has a balance sheet total of less than or equal to €43 million.
How to apply
If you fulfil all of the above criteria, please continue and complete the Bid Enhancement & Support application form (PDF, 295KB) and return to EventSupport@visitbritain.org, with the following reference in the subject line: BID/Event name.
If the answer is 'No' to any of the above questions, please do not apply as your application will not be progressed.
If you are applying for financial support for multiple bids, you can submit a single application, providing that all bids fulfil the criteria, the activity and spend occurs in this financial year (up to 31 March 2020), and the maximum combined value is £20,000 (incl. VAT). You will need to provide a clear itemised breakdown of the requirements and proposed activity for each bid/ event in the application, and rank the bids in order of priority. Please note, there is no guarantee that all events or activity will be deemed appropriate or offered grant funding.
Applications will be considered by a Panel of industry experts, to determine successful applicants. Applicants will be contacted if additional information is required to make a decision. Please note, the assessment process can take up to one month after application. Please bear this in mind when considering your activity.
If you are applying for financial support, the above application form includes a section for government advocacy.
VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) can also provide Government Advocacy/soft power to support the UK's Business Events sector, by working with Cross-Government partners. Advocacy support can take many forms including, but not limited to: Letters of support from Ministerial or Senior Government figures, Attendance at an international event bid by a Government Minister or influencer (e.g. meeting a bid committee), Hosting a reception for event organisers in the UK to promote the UK offer, Utilising the ambassador networks, Inbound Missions, and diplomatic missions overseas, through the Department for International Trade's sector teams. For further information, please visit the Government Advocacy page