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New Market Dev. Grant leaves exporters scrambling

Monday 21 February, 2005

New Market Development Grant leaves exporters scrambling

If you look at exporter response to the new market development component of the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG-MD), designed to assist companies to implement new market development programs, there is no doubt this was a total success.

The fund opened for applications to be considered on 10 January 2005 and the interest was so great that it was oversubscribed and fully committed by 16 February 2005, and had to be closed.

NZTE report that the applications submitted, covered the costs of undertaking a wide range of market development activities in offshore markets, with interest from industries including ICT, specialised manufacturing, food and beverage and creative sectors.

The very high demand however, must put NZTE in a very difficult position. They were asked to administer a programme that opened the floodgates, but will in fact benefit less than 100 companies.

Regrettably there seems little opportunity for those who missed out, to benefit in the near future. The $6.650m allocated for the 2004/2005 financial year, has now been fully committed to the applications received. The way the market development fund is structured, the $6.870m allocated for the 2005/2006 round of funding will again be on a first come first served basis, but will take into account successful first year applicants' second year funding.

So other than the lucky few, it will be 18 months before all those who missed out, as well as any other deserving exporters, can apply. Even then only a further 100 approximately, will get the support from the grant.

The programme requires exporters to fund the market development on a $ for $ basis. There is no lack of drive from exporters to develop new markets and it displays a clear indication to Government of the need to lift the level of funding made available to the export market for developing overseas markets, to where it adequately fulfils a need so actively and keenly expressed.

The lack of funding for the new market development grant programme has slammed the door shut just when New Zealand desperately needs to increase its foreign exchange earnings and strengthen our export base.

An increase in investment would bring high return.


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