Government assistance for overseas research

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If an organization is undertaking overseas research for the first time, then using the DTI's Export Marketing Research scheme will offer not only free professional advice, but also the possibility of financial assistance. This scheme is focused on the small to medium size business sector. Under the provisions of the scheme the DTI will fund up to 50 per cent of the cost of approved market research in overseas' markets up to a maximum grant of £20,000. Research proposals are assessed by three advisors at the Association of British Chambers of Commerce (Tel: 01203 694 484, Fax: 01203 694 690). Companies can apply to the scheme up to 10 times or to a maximum total grant of £60,000. Up to three studies can be made in Europe and North America. The scheme will also fund one third of any published research, syndicated work or multiclient studies.

The DTI also runs a Market Information Enquiry Service, which will provide basic research carried out by the commercial departments of overseas' embassies and high commissions. Using this scheme, basic information can be provided at very low rates. Details are available through the Trade Partner's website.

Foreign agency selection is a particular problem, mainly because of a lack of knowledge of the research business in the overseas country concerned, and often compounded by a lack of adequate and relevant language skills. It therefore most often makes sense for the intending research user to work with a home-country research agency that it judges to be competent and trustworthy, which has existing established links with foreign agencies in the relevant countries. Previous experience of multicountry research is of special relevance in selecting an agency. There are so many potential pitfalls that it is preferable to use an agency that has learned by experience at some other company's expense.

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