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What support can you get to internationalize?

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Does your company want to start exporting or expand already existing export activities? Are you looking for new markets for your products or services abroad? Or are you still experiencing the negative impact of the Brexit and want to do something about it? There are several subsidies that can financially support you in your international plans. Below is an overview.


Flanders Investment & Trade

Anyone exporting from Flanders will undoubtedly have heard of Flanders Investment & Trade, or FIT for short. FIT has a number of grants for projects that promote international business from Flanders. There are 5 types of projects for which you can apply for support:

1 Prospecting trips outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway 50% or 75%* of flat-rate travel and lodging expenses
2 Participation in a foreign trade show or niche event Scholarship: max. 5,000 or 7,500* EUR

Niche: 2,500 or 3,750* EUR fix

3 Development and translation of digital international commercial corporate communications (website, web shop, film) 3,000 or 4,500* EUR fix
4 Custom international projects (= all creative projects that promote international business from Flanders and do not fall under one of the 4 other types) 50% or 75%* of accepted charges with a maximum of EUR 12,500 or EUR 18,750*.
5 Establishment of a prospecting office outside the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway 50% or 75%* of accepted costs with a maximum of EUR 50,000 or EUR 75,000*.
*For SMEs that have fewer than 4 approved grant applications to FIT since 01/09/2005


Important to know:

  • All types of aid are open to SMEs, business associations and (mixed) chambers of commerce, only type 5 is also open to large enterprises.
  • For all types of support, the application must be submitted at least 7 calendar days before the start of the project.

For all info on these grants, please visit the grant page of the FIT.



VLAIO also foresees support for internationalization, particularly in the context of the SME growth grant.

SMEs looking to grow by sustainably expanding their existing operations into new foreign markets are eligible for a contribution to the cost of the additional expertise or knowledge they need to procure for this purpose:

Acquisition of strategic profile Advice external service provider(s)
What costs? Gross base salary first year of work X 1.596 -personnel and operating costs

-displacement costs

-Guidance costs for implementation

Aid rate 50% 50%
Maximum support EUR 25,000 EUR 25,000


Important to know:

  • The two types of interventions can be combined, allowing support of up to EUR 50,000 for a single application file.
  • The SME Growth Grant works with periodic calls. The next call is open from Aug. 28 to Sept. 25.
  • A company can receive an SME growth grant only once every three years.


Brexit support

Both VLAIO and the aforementioned FIT also have a specific grant for businesses suffering from the Brexit:

  • BAR grant

To compensate for the negative impact of the Brexit, the EU created the "Brexit Adjustment Reserve" (BAR). VLAIO is responsible for the administrative management of this support in Flanders.

To qualify for the BAR grant, you must be able to demonstrate that you had a (trade) relationship with the UK before the Brexit and that the Brexit will have a negative impact on your business.

Positively evaluated remedial projects can be subsidized 80% to 100% of submitted costs, depending on type of organization.

For all info on this grant, please visit the BAR website of VLAIO.

  • Special crisis support internationalization (Brexit)

With this globally deployable grant, which is also financed with BAR funds, FIT aims to support Flemish companies that wish to further enter the UK market and/or prospect new markets as an alternative or complement to the UK market.

For companies with 2 to 4 FTEs, the grant is a lump sum of EUR 10,000.

For companies with more staff, the support is 90% of the costs accepted by FIT, with a maximum of 20,000, 30,000 or 50,000 EUR depending on the number of FTEs.

For all info on this grant, please visit this webpage.

Important to know:

  • Those who still want to apply for BAR grants from VLAIO will have to hurry, as the call closes next July 1.
  • The current call for Special Crisis Support expires on 13/07, but may be re-launched soon.


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