a sme owners preparing to apply SME Export Marketing Fund

Hong Kong has always been a place that welcome all the entrepreneurships and the development of SMEs industry locally and globally. Gradually, SMEs business become the drive of the Hong Kong economy as they offer innovations, jobs, contribution to economic growth. However, expanding the business to international market is still a challenge for SME owners due to limited resources. But, you don’t need to worry about it anymore because this article will help you to know everything about SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF) including application process, eligibility criteria, funding amount and tips for making this funding resource become yours.

What is SME Export Marketing Fund?

SME Export Marketing Fund is a financial resource developed by Hong Kong government. It encourages SME owners to expand their markets outside of Hong Kong through participation in export promotion activities. Activities include trade fairs, conducting market research and developing promotion materials both online and offline. SME Export Marketing Fund (EMF)goal is to reduce the financial burden of SME owners and thrive more in the global markets.

EMF Supporting Promotion activities

Have a look at the funding scope of the EMF before deep dive into it.

  • Trade exhibitions held outside Hong Kong targeting markets outside Hong Kong
  • Trade exhibitions held in Hong Kong targeting markets outside Hong Kong
  • Trade exhibitions held in Hong Kong targeting the local market
  • Online trade exhibitions
  • Business missions outside Hong Kong
  • Online business missions
  • Advertisements on trade publications which mainly target markets outside Hong Kong
  • Export promotion activities which are conducted through electronic platforms/media and which mainly target markets outside Hong Kong
  • Setting up or enhancement of a corporate website/mobile application owned by the applicant enterprise which mainly targets markets outside Hong Kong

* Effective from 30 April 2021 until 30 June 2026, the funding scope of EMF is expanded to cover large-scale exhibitions staged by organizers with good track record targeting the local market. It also includes online exhibitions organized by Hong Kong Trade Development Council and reputable exhibition organizers with good track record. Moreover, the eligibility criteria is relaxed to cover non-SMEs.

EMF Funding Budget

EMF provide HKD 100,000 at maximum or 50% of total approved expenditures to SME owners for each successful application, whichever is the less. Therefore, each company can receive up to HKD 100,000 in total. Up to 50% of this amount can be used for setting up or enhancing the company’s website for mobile application.

EMF Eligibility and Requirement

  • It is available to non-listed enterprise registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance (Chapter 310).
  • You need to have the substantive business operations in Hong Kong at the time of making the application.
  • You must not be the organizer/co-organizer/service provider or a related company of the organizer/co-organizer/service provider of the promotion activity and the related services covered by the application.

How to Apply EMF

You can apply SME Export Marketing Fund all year round. You can submit application via online (e-form) or in person to “SME Export Marketing Fund Branch” according to the application period specified under each type of application. Applicant enterprises should indicate clearly on the Application Form whether they are applying for (1) reimbursement or (2) initial payment cum final payment of eligible expenditure items.

(1) Reimbursement
Submit the completed application with supporting documents within 60 calendar days. You have to submit it after the completion date of the qualified export promotion activity.

(2) Initial Payment cum Final Payment

  • For initial payment, submit the completed application form with supporting documents and a signed funding agreement in duplicate within 45 – 120 calendar days. It is important to note that you have to submit it before the commencement date of the qualified export promotion activity.
  • For final payment, submit the completed application with supporting documents within 60 calendar days after the completion date of the qualified export promotion activity.

Tips for Applying EMF

  1. Market Research: Make sure you do the detailed market research for your product or services to determine the promising market. Export a clear goal, strategies and expected outcomes.
  2. Local Ownership: Ensure you business meets all the eligibility criteria and verify if your business meets any local ownership or operation requirements.
  3. Keep Detail Record: Maintain thorough records of all expenses related to your export marketing activities.
  4. Show Enthusiasm: Express you have a long-term plan to develop a sustainable export strategy that goes beyond the initial funding period.

Are you ready to bring your business that goes beyond Hong Kong? If your answer is YES, then take the advantage of this opportunity to grow your SME business to international level. It is the perfect time to increase awareness globally and tap into new market and new consumers for your business. For further discussion, you can also consult with Fastlane HR to plan your funding budget strategically without any risk.