TAP Grant Support for Virtual Platforms for 2020/1

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Getting our exports back on track after the current crisis is over is essential. UKFT has been closely monitoring the tradeshow situation for fashion, textiles, jewellery, footwear and accessories and we are in touch with most of the online platforms that look likely to replace the physical shows – at least in the short term.

UKFT has been lobbying government to ensure that the Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants will be available for eligible brands to ‘attend’ virtual tradeshow replacements. Additionally, we have lobbied strongly for grants to be made available to companies which have exhausted their access to the TAP scheme.

These are challenging times and UKFT believes that companies should have the opportunity to test out the virtual tradeshow route to see whether they really work. These platforms have great functionality. They enable buyers and sellers to meet online. Traditionally, these platforms work best for buyers and sellers who know each other already but virtual tradeshows attract new buyers by creating a curated edit of brands and products to the platforms.

Virtual tradeshows offer a number of advantages over direct participation in an online platform:

  • Brands will be able to take part in the platform to try it out at a fraction of the usual cost
  • Brands will not be tied into a 1 or 2 year minimum contract
  • The shows will bring their brands and buyers to the platforms and drive them to their virtual exhibitors
  • Virtual shows will run for a longer period than the traditional three or four days of the tradeshow – the virtual show will run for the length of the season to enable buyers to place orders through the site
  • Grants (through TAP) to cover part of the costs will be available through UKFT

The first virtual tradeshow releases are expected to be:

  • Playtime (running on Playologie.com) for childrenswear
  • Pitti Uomo (running on Pitti Connect) for menswear, accessories and footwear
  • Pitti Bimbo (running on Pitti Connect) for childrenswear, accessories and footwear
  • Cabana Miami Swim (running on Joor) for swim, beachwear, cruise and resort
  • Premium and Seek Berlin (running on Joor) for menswear, womenswear, casualwear, accessories, Jewellery, footwear
  • Project NYC and MRket NYC – pending decisions from the organisers – (running on NuOrder.com) for menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, accessories, footwear, resort

We will shortly publish details of events where UKFT has been able to secure funding for virtual platforms. Please email noleen.willis@ukft.org if you would like to receive details of these or get a better understanding of how these platforms could help your business.

UKFT recommends that companies hold off on making a decision on whether to use the virtual platforms until they receive confirmation that they are eligible for a grant.

Once accepted for a grant, UKFT will refer you to the correct people to make your application for the right part of the platform and work with you to promote your brand on the platform.