#KnowYourIncentives: Export Marketing and Investment Assistance

Updated on 8 May 2018

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For manufacturers looking to explore trade and investment opportunities in foreign markets and to help them trade on the global stage, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offers an incentive scheme.

The purpose of the Export Marketing and Investment Assistance (EMIA) is to partially compensate exporters for costs incurred concerning activities aimed at developing export markets for South African products and services abroad and to recruit new foreign direct investment and potential customers into South Africa.

Through support from the EMIA scheme, South African companies get the opportunity to network with key policymakers, government officials and potential partners at international expos. They are also able to generate various business opportunities in a range of economic sectors. according to Brand South Africa.

Exhibitions are lined up for 2018, for example, in February this year the DTI hosted companies in the agro-processing sector who received EMIA assistance to attend the annual Gulfood Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Gulfood Exhibition is the largest food and beverage fair in the region and has almost 100,000 visitors every year. It brings together businesses from more than 100 countries.


  • Provide marketing assistance to develop new export markets and grow existing export markets;
  • Assist with the identification of new export markets through market research;
  • Assist companies to increase their competitiveness by supporting patent registrations, quality marks and product marks;
  • Assist with facilitation to grow FDI through missions and FDI research; and
  • Increase the contribution of black-owned businesses and SMEs to South Africa’s economy.

Eligible enterprises

The following enterprises qualify for assistance on the condition that they are operating and trading for more than one financial year:

  • South African manufacturers of products including SMMEs and businesses owned by historically disadvantaged individuals (HDI) who are registered with the South African Revenue Services (SARS). For a product to qualify as locally made it should contain at least 35% local content or value addition including raw material and packaging.
  • South African Export Trading Houses representing at least three (3) SMMEs or HDI-owned businesses
  • South African Commission Agents representing at least three (3) SMMEs or HDI-owned businesses
  • South African Export Councils, Industry Associations and Joint Action Groups representing at least five (5) South African entities

Qualifying criteria

The Department of Trade and Industry considers the following in each application:

  • Export readiness of the applicant
  • Export/production performance of the applicant
  • Export/marketing competence of a person visiting a foreign country
  • Potential available/accessible production/export product capacity
  • Extent of export marketing planning
  • Type of product for export and local sales performance
  • Level of labour absorption, location and technological requirements
  • The industry in which the venture operates or is planned
  • Submission of general and specific qualifying documentation and adherence to general and specific criteria as stipulated per each EMIA offering

Scheme Offering

EMIA is broadly divided into two types, individual participation schemes and group schemes. They are:

Primary export market and foreign direct investment research: Exporters can receive compensation for costs incurred in developing new export markets or recruiting new foreign direct investment after visiting potential investors in foreign countries.

Inward-bound missions: Support is given to organisers of inward-buying investors or trade missions, to make contact with potential investors to conclude deals. Group missions must be organised by a qualifying organisation such as an export council or by TISA.

Outward-bound trade missions: Assistance is given to South African exporters who want to contact foreign buyers to conclude new export orders.

Outward-bound investment recruitment: Support is provided to South African businesses taking part in outward investment missions, to attract foreign direct investment.

Individual participation at exhibitions: Help is given to individual exporters to exhibit products at recognised exhibitions abroad where TISA does not provide a national pavilion.

National pavilions: TISA participates in selected trade fairs and exhibitions abroad using national pavilions. Assistance is given to qualifying South African exporters to introduce their products into foreign markets by cost-effectively participating in suitable foreign exhibitions.

All information courtesy of the DTI and Brand South Africa.

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