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Trade Grants

Frequently Asked Questions

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Topics

General

Do agriculture producers/farmers/growers qualify for trade grants?
No. Agriculture producers are NOT considered manufacturers and do not qualify for trade grants. Those companies get a great deal of export assistance from FL and U.S. Departments of Agriculture. Please refer those companies to those agencies.

Can real estate companies apply for a trade grant?
No. Real estate does not qualify as an export service for our programs.

Do we have a content requirement for our trade grants program?
The 51% U.S. content requirement specifically applies to services offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce, and therefore Gold Key Service Grants only. EFI does not have a content requirement (Florida or U.S.) for other grant programs. In regards to the TSTG grants, Florida manufacturers/producers must have a commercially licensed physical office/warehouse/plant facility.

If research and development of a product occurs in Florida, but production is elsewhere, can a company qualify for a trade grant?
We would handle situations such as this on a case-by-case basis. The company would need to demonstrate that significant Research and Development takes place in Florida and is, in turn, creating jobs and contributing to the Florida economy.  The

Do franchises qualify for the trade grants?
As a rule, we have always declined franchises. We target manufacturers/producers and value-added, knowledge-based professional services providers.

Can a company receive a trade grant if operational for less than two years in Florida?
The trade manager will need to evaluate the stability and maturity of a company and notify the appropriate grant administrator for consideration. If an established company has relocated from another state and has shown that it is export ready, we would consider the company as eligible.

What qualifies as a manufacture?
As long as the product is assembled, produced, or fabricated within the state, we will consider the company as a manufacturer. We consider companies that assemble a product(s) with materials sourced outside of the state or internationally as a manufacturer. The preference is that they source Florida made products; however, we will not exclude these companies from our grant program.

Are repackaging companies eligible for a grant?
No. By definition, repackaging is the process of packaging goods again or differently. To be eligible for at least consideration, the company should demonstrate that the repackaged product has a specific formula, component, detail / re-designed/redeveloped with the company specifications.

What qualifies as an eligible service provider?
See the list of eligible sectors for professional services.  We are looking for companies that can provide customized, knowledge-based services to clients that that the client would otherwise have to bring in-house.  Such services providers offer a specialized service that another company or individual is willing to pay for. Marketing, communications, and public relations all qualify as a professional service as well. Some exclusions, include: attorneys; EB-5 programs; freight forwarders who do not provide value-added services such as those outlined in the question “Are logistics companies eligible to receive a trade grant?”

Are Manufacturers’ Representatives eligible to receive a trade grant?
Yes. Manufacturers’ representatives can qualify for our grant programs. Both the manufacturers’ representative AND the manufacturer must meet the minimum eligibility requirements in order to be approved for the grant award. In addition to the required items needed for grant processing, the applicant should provide:

  • A statement verifying the manufacturer meets the grant criteria with a signature and date.
  • A Manufacturer’s Authorization to Represent in the form of a letter or email from the manufacturer, stating that the applicant has exclusive rights and permission to represent the company in the market or at the trade show.

Are logistics companies eligible to receive a trade grant?
A logistics company is eligible to receive a grant if they are headquartered in Florida and provides all and/or most of the following professional services: carrier, shipping (delivery), order fulfillment (in Florida), warehouse services (in Florida): assembly, product inspection, light manufacturing, labeling, rework and recycling value added services.

Can we give more than one grant to the same person that owns different companies or what would be considered “sister companies”?
Yes. Each company will need to be registered with the Florida Department of Corporations as separate entities, with separate FEINs (Florida Employer ID Numbers). The companies will need to be added to Salesforce as two separate accounts and the associated contact for each account should have different email addresses – one for each company.

Can a company receive a Target Sector Trade Show Grant and a Reimbursable Gold Key/Business Matchmaker Grant if the trade show has a business matchmaking component for an additional fee?
No. Based on experiences with clients that have attempted both, we were unable to determine the distinction between export sales results from the trade show and business matchmaking component. Therefore, we do not offer this as an option.

Are Florida-based subsidiaries of larger corporations eligible for trade grants?
A determination will be made on a case-by-case basis. If the subsidiary is independently operated, not receiving financial support, and the marketing and sales efforts are not supported by the parent company, a case can be made in support of approving the grant. The subsidiary and parent would need to meet the other criteria (Less than 500 employees, etc.)

What is a Foreign Corporation in Florida and are they eligible to receive a trade grant?
Any corporation that is formed in another state, however registered to do business in Florida, is labeled as a Foreign Corporation by the Florida Division of Corporations. The state requires that all foreign corporations have a Florida Registered Agent. The Florida Registered Agent should be the person to complete the trade grant application. (Added 11-21-2019)

Submission Process

How far in advance can a company apply for a grant?
We ask that a company apply no more than a year out. Keep in mind that the company will need to submit confirmation of registration and proof of payment in order to apply for the grant. If these items have not been secured yet by the company, please advise them to wait on applying.

How many grants can a company receive per fiscal year?
Three grants per FY based on the event end date for Target Sector Trade Show Grants and Reimbursable Gold Key Grants. The qualifying date for Export Marketing Plans, Website Localization Grants, and International Registration Grants is the “Date Paid” on the grant record. We request that clients not apply for a grant more than 12-months in advance of the event start date.

A client applied for a grant; however, it is not showing in Salesforce. What happened?
If the grant application was successfully submitted, automatically within Salesforce a grant record labeled “Pending” will display in the Grant Section of the Account and the grant administrators will receive a notification. If this did not happen, check with a grant administrator to determine if the grant is stuck in the Form Assembly queue.

Target Sector Trade Show Grants

If a company exhibited at a trade show within the last three years, but not with EFI, are they considered New to Show?
No. The criteria states that the company “Must be ‘New to Show’ or has not participated in the same show within the last three (3) years.” That includes participation with or without EFI. So if a company participated in a trade show on their own and not with EFI within the last three years, then they do not qualify. The grants are intended to help companies diversify their markets.

Does a trade show that moves to new locations/countries each year qualify?
Yes, companies that are participating in a trade show that takes place in different countries each year will qualify, assuming the company is new to that market. Lifetime grant limitations may apply depending on how often the show rotates to that particular location.

Do conferences or congresses count as an eligible trade show event?
It depends on the event. To be eligible for a grant, the show (expo, conference, congress, etc.) must have a clearly defined exhibition area, with individual booth space. We are specifically looking for a stall, compartment, or structure that is used to display goods or services. If the event only has a business matchmaking setup with just table and chairs, it will not qualify.

There are international trade shows that rotate countries on an annual basis. How should I determine the company has met the event limitations?
It was decided that for shows that rotate countries on a continual basis, a company can receive a grant as new to show or a second-year participant for each market (which is the criteria for grants currently). We will determine the market based on distance, location, etc. For China, we consider Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong as separate markets.

If you have a client that attended the show in said country multiple times and no longer qualifies as new to show or second year participant, there must be a six (6) year gap where the company does not attend the show in order to qualify as “new to show” again. Reference the below example. It is recommended that companies list the years attended in the “Years Participated” section of the grant application.

  • 2019 – Country 1 – New Show
  • 2020- Country 2
  • 2021 – Country 3
  • 2022 – Country 1 – Second Year
  • 2023 – Country 2
  • 2024 – Country 3
  • 2025 – Country 1 – Does Not Attend
  • 2026 – Country 2
  • 2027 – Country 3
  • 2028 – Country 1 – Does Not Attend
  • 2029 – Country 2
  • 2030 – Country 3
  • 2031 – Country 1 – Qualifies as New to Show
  • 2032 – Country 2
  • 2033 – Country 3

What type of graphics are an eligible reimbursable expense?
When evaluating eligible expenses, we are considering if the expense is for a single, one time use. If it can be removed from the exhibition and used again, the grant will not cover expenses such as these. In terms of graphics, we typically look for vinyl graphic panels or logo headers. The grant will not cover Pop Up Displays, Retractable Banner Stands of any kind, or fabric displays.

Are sponsorship registrations eligible for reimbursement as a Target Sector Trade Show Grant?
Some trade shows or conferences only offer sponsorship options for registrants. If this is the case, we would  cover expenses related to the exhibitor booth, graphics, furniture, electricity, etc. Please reference the list of eligible expenses for more information. The applicant will need to provide an itemized invoice (or equivalent) that clearly displays the fee associated with each item included in the sponsorship. (Added 11-21-2019)

Reimbursable Gold Key / Business Matchmaking Grants

Can companies get a trade grant for the US Commercial Service’s CEO program?
Companies participating in the USCS Corporate Executive Office (CEO Center program) are eligible for a Gold Key/Business Matchmaker grant, not a trade show grant.

Export Marketing Plans

Why are there different qualifications for Export Marketing Plans?
Because the Export Marketing Plans are frequently being prepared for companies who are new to export or (very) infrequent exporters, we added minimum parameters to ensure the companies readiness.

Website Localization Grants

How many website localization grants can a single company receive?
Companies can apply for a second Website Localization grant, but not in the same fiscal year and must provide an Export Sales Report showing how the first grant helped them to achieve export sales.

Companies can receive a lifetime maximum of two Website Localization grants.

International Registration Grants

When should companies apply for the International Registration Grant?
As with our trade show and Gold Key grants, companies should apply for this grant after they have paid the fees required to obtain the certification/registration.  The company must submit their grant application to EFI within 45 days after they have submitted their registration application.  Staff should encourage companies to send you the documentation before paying for the certification if they can only proceed if they get a grant.

Will our grant cover travel and lodging expenses if a certification team has to visit the Florida companies facility?
No, we will not cover such expenses.