The grant eligibility requirements say I have to have 35 percent cost inputs in Wisconsin. What are cost inputs?
Cost inputs are anything on which a company expends resources within the state. Examples include manufacturing, research and development, headquarters/administration and warehousing. In essence, we want to insure that a grantee’s economic footprint is at least 35 percent within the state. We have a Microsoft Excel tool that can assist companies in figuring out whether they qualify.
The grant application asks for my company’s NAICS code. What is this? Do I need one? How do I get one?
NAICS stands for the North American Industry Classification System. This number classifies businesses for the purpose of collecting, analyzing and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. economy. The NAICS industry codes define companies based on the activities in which they are primarily engaged. NAICS codes are also used for administrative, contracting and tax purposes. NAICS is production-oriented (not product-oriented) and places businesses in categories based on similar methods of production. Companies self-identify their NAICS codes, and any company that is exporting a good or service should have one. Click here to look up your company’s NAICS code.
When can I apply for an international grant?
Our Global Business Development Program calendar corresponds to WEDC’s fiscal year, July 1-June 30. The program has open enrollment, which means a company may apply anytime throughout the year. However, our board must approve the program and its budget with each new fiscal year.
It takes approximately four to six weeks to process an application, and you will need an approval confirmation (with a date) before you can begin to pay on any expenses you are planning to count toward your grant reimbursement. For example, don’t just consider the date of the trade show you wish to attend; also consider the registration deadline, and work backwards to set your timeline for applying.
How does a company go about creating an export compliance plan? Does my company need an Export Control Classification Number?
The Bureau of Industry & Security (BIS) website can help you determine how to put together an export compliance plan as well as help you determine if you need an ECCN and what that number might be. Visit www.bis.doc.gov for more information.
I’m ready to get reimbursed for my expenses. What do I need to do?
First, answer these questions to see if you are actually ready to submit for reimbursement:
Have I completed the project for which I was approved?
Typically, WEDC only cuts one check for our IMAG and CMAGs. We do not accept piecemeal receipts along the way. All reimbursement documentation should come in at once at the end of your project. If you need to split your reimbursement into two parts, please contact the international grant manager to request an exception.
Do I have an executed contract?
That is, have you signed your grant contract, emailed it back to WEDC and received a signed copy from our vice president of credit and risk? We must have an executed contract before we can process any reimbursement requests.
Are there forms I need to turn in to be reimbursed?
At the end of your contract, there should be two forms: a WEDC request for payment and a program evaluation form. Both of these forms should be turned in within 90 days of your project end date listed in your contract. You will need to turn in the request for payment along with all documentation of your expenses.
Documentation includes answering:
- Who was the expense paid to? (documentation options include invoice, receipt, wire transfer)
- How did the company pay for the expense? (e.g., company check, credit card, wire transfer)
- Was the payment processed? (documentation options include backside of the canceled check, credit card statement showing equal amount or greater paid subsequent to the charge date, bank general ledger showing a complete accounting of the transaction, or wire transfer)
All three of these questions must be answered before an expense will be approved for reimbursement.
We went to a trade show last fall. Can I submit my application and expenses for reimbursement together?
You must have an approval confirmation (with a date) before you can start paying on any expenses under your grant. Thus, if your project has already occurred, it will be ineligible for grant funding.submit my application and expenses for reimbursement together?
May I use the export education category of funding to help pay for my company’s technical training on fire safety codes, use it to pay for ExporTech™ or pay for a U.S. Department of Commerce conference on export documentation for South Africa?
- No. The training eligible under this category is only for company staff to participate in a class, workshop, seminar, conference, etc. that deals specifically with international exporting. A company’s training in updated fire safety codes would not be eligible.
- No. ExporTech™ is a national curriculum designed to help a company’s executive staff create an international export strategy. WEDC partners with the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) and the UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center to offer these sessions throughout the state. We already subsidize this program, and thus, the program fee is not eligible for grant reimbursement.
- Yes. This category is to be used to provide export-focused education for a company’s operational staff. The U.S. Department of Commerce conferences focusing on export assistance would qualify, as would classes/workshops/seminars through UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Technical College System. Click here to view a list of partners that provide these opportunities.
Where can I find information about available ExporTech™ sessions?
Click here to view all upcoming ExporTech™ sessions. Attend this three-day event to develop a customized, action-oriented export expansion strategy with ExporTech™.
Travel, lodging and meals are a major expense for our company to do international projects. Why doesn’t the grant cover these expenses?
Doing business internationally can be expensive, especially as a company is expanding into a new market. Our international grant program is not meant to cover all project expenses. The idea is for a company to take its current budget and apply WEDC funds to take a three-year export strategy and pare it down to a year and a half. Or, if a company has budgeted to go to a trade show, perhaps the company can use grant funding to work with an international trade representative first to do some market research and appointment setting, thus utilizing their time in country more effectively than just attending the show. Our grants require a 30 percent company match. Travel and lodging expenses are not eligible for direct reimbursement, but can count toward the company match amount. State employees are restricted as to what kinds of airfare and lodging arrangements they can utilize; we do not impose those same restrictions on our applicants, since we are not funding those expenditures.
As for meal costs, the federal government does not allow the reimbursement of these expenses on federal grants, and it makes sense to follow suit for state grants. Food, alcohol and entertainment expenses can be subjected too much scrutiny, and we prefer to avoid those conversations.
Q: What is the International Market Access Grant (IMAG)?
A: IMAGs are for international trade exhibitions, international trade missions and business matchmaker services. Companies can use this for reimbursement for specific expenses associated with exhibiting at an approved trade show in a foreign market, participating in a matchmaker trade delegation program or certified trade mission, website and literature localization and consulting services needed to meet certain international product certification requirements.
Q: What’s new or different about the IMAG Program?
A: The IMAG amount has increased since last year. In fiscal year 2014, companies could receive $10,000, and in the current fiscal year (FY15) companies can receive up to $25,000. This increase allows companies to think more strategically on how to implement their export development plan. It’s important for companies that currently export or are entering the exporting realm for the first time to take advantage of various opportunities and develop a strong exporting strategy. WEDC funding assistance provides the incentives for companies to think more strategically and achieve long-term success.
Q: What is the Collaborative Market Access Grant (CMAG), and who can benefit from this assistance?
A: WEDC’s newest grant, Collaborative Market Access Grant, provides support to non-profit, agency, and/or local economic development groups for an export project that directly assists the exporting efforts of Wisconsin companies. This allows WEDC to leverage relationships with partner organizations and industry associations to help make Wisconsin companies aware of the financial and technical assistance available through the organization. For example, WEDC has worked with the Port of Milwaukee to give pass-through assistance to companies that participate in the National Association of Foreign Trade Zone conference. The organization has also provided funding for certain computer upgrades, customs upgrades and set fees associated with activating the foreign trade zone status for these companies.
Q: Are there any other upgrades to the Global Business Development Program’s grants?
A: Other upgrades to the grant program in FY15 include a company match of 30 percent for the total award given – up 5 percent from the previous fiscal year for certain categories. In addition, the percentage is no longer divided into budget categories based on the type of assistance offered. WEDC also has incorporated the Export Education Grant into its export education and cultural competency budget section, allowing companies to budget for employees to attend export-related classes, workshops seminars and more.