Trade shows are among the key communication and marketing instruments of the German economy and provide startup companies with an ideal platform for opening up new markets. In order to cope with the financial and organisational challenges associated with a trade show, the BMWi has set up the "Funding programme for the participation of innovative startups in leading international fairs in Germany". Its aim is to provide assistance in the marketing and export of new products and processes and is directed at innovative new companies, which are not older than ten years and whose registered place of business and business operations are in Germany. The applicable EU definition of small enterprises has to be fulfilled, i.e. the company may not employ more than 50 members of staff and may generate a maximum annual turnover of 10 million euros.
A stepping stone into the spotlight
Exhibiting startups meeting these requirements may apply for support on the website of the Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA, bafa.de) where the relevant requirements for participation and funding guidelines are set out. A new guideline will come into effect next year, which particularly concerns the exhibitors' own financial contributions: As of 2017, BMWi will assume 60 percent of the costs for space rental and booth construction for the first two appearances at an event, while 50 percent of these costs will be assumed from the third occasion. A total maximum amount of EUR 7,500.00 will be granted per exhibitor and trade show.
Since the start of the funding programme, numerous startups have taken advantage of the BAFA grant in order to showcase their new developments and product modifications at ZOW. Among these is GNature from Baden-Württemberg. The fledgling company specialises in organic natural paints, oils, cleaning and care agents for which demand is steadily increasing all over the world. "For us, ZOW was the most successful of four international fairs in 2016", states CEO Tobias Gölz. "My staff was very surprised by the trade professionals visiting the show. Not only were we able to conduct pleasant discussions in a relaxed atmosphere, but we also found four new export dealers who market the GNature products in China, Serbia, Costa Rica and the Ukraine. The German visitors to the show also expressed a keen interest in the natural paints from Süßen." Owing to the outstanding success of its participation in ZOW 2016, the young company based in South Germany will once again be among the exhibitors at ZOW 2017.