Live Bid Support

This strand of the Event Support Programme supports the attraction of new business events to the UK, which align with our priority sectors. It offers support to boost city-led bids for an international business event not currently held in Britain.

Funding applications are currently closed

We wish to advise that funding applications are closed for activity taking place in the 2017/18 financial year (to 31 March 2018). Applications for government advocacy / ‘soft support’ are welcome now and beyond the financial year. 

Please complete this enquiry form (54KB) to register interest in any future Business Support funds and return it to In the subject line please use reference “Enquiry / <Event name>”. 

Please note: There is no guarantee that funding for next financial year will be available, or according to the same criteria as the previous funding rounds. Further information will be stated on this page in due course.


Live Bid Support can take two forms – financial support or advocacy/ ‘soft’ support:

Financial Support

Financial support of up to approximately £15,000 gross per event is available for a limited number of city-led bids. Funds will assist in bid costs for an international business event not currently held in Britain, to help increase the conversion of the bid. 

Grant funds could be used to support the following, indicative activity:

•    Support the bid pitch, by supporting the attendance of one destination representative and pitch costs 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 a bid
•    A contribution towards translation costs of a bid

Additional suggestions that are considered relevant to the bid are welcome.

Advocacy/ ‘Soft’ Support

VisitBritain and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) also offers an ongoing programme of brokering 'soft' support/ government advocacy to support Britain's Business Events sector by working with cross-government partners.
Requests to the appropriate department in HM Government (where feasible) to add to support your bid. This could include Letters of Support from Ministerial or Senior Government officials, attendance at a bid support activity by a Government Minister or influencer (e.g. meeting a bid committee), hosting a reception for event organisers in the UK to push the British offer, utilising Heads of Mission and diplomatic missions overseas, Department of International Trade sector support. 

Support could also involve utilising the 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. The campaign has already secured confirmed economic returns of £2.7bn for the UK.

Criteria 2017-18 for Live Bid Support

All applications will be assessed against the following initial criteria.  If the answer is ‘yes’ to all 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 Advocacy Support 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 31st March 2018.  

If the answer is NO for this question but the event activity will occur between April 2018 and 31st March 2019, please complete this enquiry form (Word, 54KB) 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 and other events are NOT eligible)
  • The applicant is a Destination Management Organisation (DMO). Venues and event organisers who are collaborating with DMOs are eligible to apply. If applicant is not a DMO, has the application been discussed and agreed with local DMOs prior to application? 
  • Are you the sole UK bidder for the event? Applications for Live Bid Support will only be considered when the applicant is the sole UK candidate for the event.
  • Does the event clearly align with one of the following priority sectors for UK industry?

- Life Sciences, bio-economy, healthcare
- Technology
- Advanced Engineering
- Infrastructure
- Energy
- Business & Professional Services

Please note

  • Any proposed activity must include detailed information on tangible outputs and an evaluation methodology for measuring outcomes.
  • Grants will be paid in arrears on the basis of the actual reimbursement of eligible project costs.
  • Applicants are advised that any marketing activity funded from this programme will require the integration of approved GREAT Britain Campaign branding.
  • 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.

How to Apply?

Financial Support 

We wish to advise that funding applications are closed for activity taking place in the 2017/18 financial year (to 31 March 2018).

Advocacy/ 'Soft' Support 

If you fulfil the above criteria and would like to apply for Advocacy Support, please complete this application form (Word, 53KB). Applications can be received on an ongoing basis. If you are also applying for financial support for this event you will only need to complete Section 1 of the Advocacy Support form. We recommend applying as soon as possible to get the best possible assistance. However, Advocacy Support cannot be guaranteed and is subject to availability.

VisitBritain, supported by members of the Events Industry Board will convene an Event Support Fund Awards Panel to determine awards. If additional information is required in advance during the application process, applicants will be notified.

The assessment process can take up to one month after application as Panel assessments take place once per month as required.

Please note

As a condition of grant funding Applicants will need to ensure that they comply with State Aid rules if the Award Panel approve the application. For further detail refer to the BIS state aid manual which includes details of GBER and De Minimis Regulations. You will need to demonstrate clearly in a letter that receipt of grant funding for your activities is within State Aid limits or that it is exempt, for example, under one or more of the relevant General Block Exemption Regulations prior to being offered a grant.