About the Acumen programme
Exporting businesses have proven to be more innovative, productive and resilient relative to their non-exporting counterparts and research undertaken by InterTradeIreland (through its Business Monitor) indicates that cross-border trading serves as an important ‘stepping stone’ towards taking a wider journey to exporting into markets off the Island of Ireland.
The Acumen programme aims to enhance the capacity and capability of SMEs to take the first formal steps onto the export ladder by helping to fund an experienced and skilled sales resource to help businesses to identify new opportunities and win new sales in the cross-border market.
Acumen support options
There are two funding options available under the Acumen programme. The Acumen team will work closely with you to help you decide which option is most suitable for your business needs.
Acumen will fund up to 50% of the cost of a Full-time Sales resource for a 12 month period. The maximum cost that can be covered is €37,500/£30,000 with Acumen funding up to €18,750/£15,000. A Full-time sales resource must be an individual directly employed by the business and not a contractual representative.
Acumen will fund up to 50% of the cost of a Part-time Sales resource for a 6-12 month period. The maximum cost that can be covered is €20,000/£16,000 with Acumen funding up to €10,000/£8,000. A Part-time sales resource can be an individual directly employed by the business or alternatively a contractual representative e.g. experienced sales agent, consultant or a lead generation company. Note if using the services of lead generation company, there must be just one nominated individual delivering the project.
Additional Funding and Support
Businesses with considerable export potential and which satisfy the eligibility criteria may benefit from additional support, which is 100% funded by ITI, to look at issues such as pricing, supply chain, competitor analysis etc. prior to submitting a full Acumen application. This will be explored further through the Export Diagnostic assessment (refer to how to apply section)
When a business is approved for Acumen funding, additional practical support can also be provided to help with the recruitment process including the following:
- Development of the marketing collateral required for a successful recruitment campaign including job description, personal specification, job adverts and remuneration package.
- Advice and guidance on the shortlisting and interview process.
- Post recruitment sales training and support.
Sales Support workshops are designed to support companies during their Acumen project and provide a networking opportunity to meet with other programme participants. The workshops provide information and practical ways to assist individuals involved in cross border sales to expand their knowledge and skills.
How will Acumen benefit your business?
Companies that have availed of Acumen support typically report:
- Average £250k/€280k new business development/sales.
- Improved understanding of how to trade within a cross-border market.
- Increased knowledge of cross-border sales opportunities.
- Focused and efficient cross-border sales and marketing strategy.
- Enhanced capability and skills of the business’s management/sales team.
- Increased ability to recruit, manage and retain a sales resource.