Food Export Blog

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Food Export Blog

Our Branded Program Year Opens August 1st!

by Sarah Larson | Jul 25, 2018

Food Export – Midwest and Food Export – Northeast’s Branded Program is a cost share program where eligible companies can get 50% reimbursement of a variety of international marketing activities.

 

Want to know if you are an eligible company?  Just answer the 3 questions below.

  1. Are you a U.S. company?
  2. Do you meet the SBA guidelines of a small business?
  3. Do you promote brand name products that contain at least 50% U.S. agricultural content by weight (excluding added water and packing)?

If your answer to these 3 questions is YES, then great news!  You are on your way to becoming qualified for our Branded Program!  

Note: Your product can not be covered by another industry group.  Primarily we cover value-added and processed products, with the exception of seafood.

To help you learn more about the Branded Program and determine if it’s right for you, we have created a YouTube Playlist with all of our informational videos pertaining to the Branded Program to help guide you through the basics.

For Current Branded Program Participants: Please take note of some changes for the new program year listed below.

2020 Program Year Timeline

                                                                        (Click to Enlarge Timeline)

Pre-Qualification

The first step in the Branded Program application process is to submit a free Pre-Qualification. You can do your Pre-Qualification as soon as the Program Year opens on August 1st. You’ll want to complete this step as early as possible as we ran out of available funding in previous years due to high demand and expect this year to be similar.

Application

Once your Pre-Qualification is approved, the next step is to submit a full application with your specific country marketing plans and the amount of funding you are requesting. Just because your Pre-Qualification is approved does not guarantee your acceptance to the program.  You have to complete the application.  You’ll want to do this as early as possible as our funds are dispersed on a first come, first served basis and it is highly competitive! 

There are 2 Fees associated with the Branded Program.  The first is a non-refundable $250 application fee payable by credit card at the time of submission. The second is a 6% administrative fee based on the level of funding you are requesting which is due
within 30 days of approval.

Contract Effective Date

Your Branded Program contract goes into effect the day your application is submitted with payment. We cannot reimburse for expenses paid prior to this date.  There will be no exceptions to this rule.

Processing Time

Remember, you only have 60 days after an event to file a reimbursement claim.  Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast are under no obligation to reimburse your claims after that. 

Common Reasons for a Denied Reimbursement

In the past we’ve had a number of companies that become frustrated when their claims are denied.  According to our Branded Program Managers, the items listed below are the most common reasons for a denied reimbursement claim.  Take your time to read through the list and make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes with your claims:

  • U.S. origin statement was missing from the proof of activity documentation
  • Insufficient or missing documentation
  • Expenses were for ineligible activities
  • Expenses were incurred for an ineligible or non-approved country
  • Transactions were not documented by cancelled check, wire transfer, bank statement or credit card statement (Invoices paid with off-invoicing are not reimbursable)
  • Payment was made before your contract effective date
  • No pre-travel notification was submitted for travel to international tradeshows

Success Stories

Wondering if the Branded Program can work for you?  Check out the Success Stories below about 2 companies who have found major success utilizing the Branded Program.

Illinois Supplier Increases Exports with Branded Program

Success Story - Agave Loco


Lobster Supplier Nets Export Sales With Branded Program
  
Success Story - Greenhead Lobster

If you have any questions or need assistance with your Branded Program Pre-Qualification and Application, please reach out to the Liaison assigned for your state.  They would love to help guide you through the process!