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JETRO Announces Open Call for 2023 Export Business Subsidies for SMEs

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) announced on April 19 a wide-ranging call for applications for indirect subsidy providers to participate in the “Export Business Model Research and Demonstration Project Subsidies for Medium-sized and Small Enterprises.” This initiative aims to construct new business models by private-sector operators to support the export of Japanese medium-sized and small enterprises.

The project’s primary goal is to build a system that enables the autonomous expansion of overseas ventures for medium-sized and small enterprises, seizing opportunities in the digitalization wave. It will provide support for practical initiatives that develop new business models to aid these companies’ exports. Note that cases benefiting only individual companies’ overseas expansion are not eligible.

Subsidy-eligible projects include:

Project details

  • Expected number of selected projects: approximately eight
  • Eligible applicants: Medium-sized enterprises, small enterprises, specified non-profit organizations or general incorporated associations, chambers of commerce and industry, or prefectural chambers of commerce and industry associations (refer to application guidelines for details)
  • Target cases: Seeking practical initiatives that build new business models to support medium-sized and small enterprises’ exports. The following examples are indicative:
    • Domestic platforms connecting medium-sized and small enterprises with customers expand their services overseas, aiming to increase exports for participating companies.
    • Regional financial institutions and local trading companies collaborate to consolidate regional products, utilizing digital platforms to expand exports.
    • A business model that creates a system for foreign visitors to Japan to purchase Japanese products during their stay or after returning to their home countries, leading to the expansion of Japanese product sales and exports.
    • Utilizing 5G and AI technologies to achieve the expansion of medium-sized and small enterprises’ exports and efficient overseas marketing.
    • Employing digital platforms to expand exports of B2B products such as machinery and materials.
    • Providing services that promote efficiency and cost reduction in medium-sized and small enterprises’ overseas expansion through digitalization of trade procedures, logistics, consolidation coordination, and payment.
    • Developing business models that improve customer experience through O2O initiatives and the use of the metaverse, promoting sales and export expansion.

Target countries and regions:

  • All countries worldwide (excluding those with a travel risk level of 3 or higher, as defined by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ “Overseas Safety Homepage”)

Subsidy details

  • Subsidy amount: Up to 40 million yen per company
  • Subsidy rate: One-third of eligible expenses for projects specializing in textiles, fabrics/apparel, or cosmetics; one-half of eligible expenses for all other projects (including cross-sectoral cases)
  • Final implementation details and grant amounts will be determined in consultation with JETRO.
  • Project implementation period: From the subsidy grant decision date until January 31, 2024.


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