Review of SME export assistance program announced

Trade minister Simon Birmingham has announced a review of the Export Market Development Grant scheme.


Led by Anna Fisher, the co-owner of wine business Zonte’s Footstep, the review will examine the most effective ways to assist SMEs in promoting their products and services overseas.


The EMDG is for “aspiring and current exporters,” and provides up to 50 per cent of the cost of export promotion expenses – such as attendance at trade shows – for expenses above $5,000 “provided that the total expenses are at least $15,000.” It can be claimed up to eight times in a year.  


“The Review will also take into account research to explore the impact financial assistance can have on exporters and to understand the characteristics of successful exporters,” according to a statement from Birmingham.


According to Birmingham, the EMDG was topped up in the last federal budget by $60 million, though it has not been meaningfully reformed in over 40 years. Fisher will deliver her report in March 2020.


“The Review will seek the views of exporters and any interested parties through a series of face‑to‑face consultations around Australia, webinars and calls for online written submissions, commencing in October 2019.”


EMDG is administered by Austrade, and according to InnovationAus it provided a total of $131.6 million in assistance to 3,706 companies in the 2017 – 2018 financial year.




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