How to register for the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme?

Market Access Initiative scheme aims to promote export trade in India. In this blog, learn more about its role, eligibility and financial grants.
Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme
Export has always played a key role in creating employment in the country and supporting the overall economy. To further strengthen this industry and enable exports from India, the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme was launched in 2003.

What is the Market Access Initiative scheme?

The Market Access Initiative scheme is an export promotion scheme proposed to sustainably promote export trade in India. It aims to regulate a product-focus approach through market surveys to drive exports. It also assists Export Promotion Organizations, trade promotion organizations, research institutions, labs and universities to access new market territories and strengthen their presence in the existing markets1.

Objectives of Market Access Initiative scheme

Apart from the key role to catalyze promotion of export products and services, the initiative supports micro, small and medium enterprises to:
• Expand their businesses to new export markets
• Embrace innovation and technology
• Acquire trade and export knowledge
• Build and acquire essential skill set
• Understand interventions required to enter new international markets

Activities eligible for financial assistance under MAI scheme

The scheme assists export businesses, agencies and institutes to strengthen their operations and ensure a strong presence in new markets. Following are some of the activities eligible for financial assistance under the scheme:
• Capacity building
• International marketing projects
• Project development
• Support for statutory compliances
• Support for cottage and handicrafts units
• Develop foreign trade facilitation web portal

Types of financial assistance granted under MAI scheme

Following are some of the types of financial assistance granted under the scheme3:

Market study

This is provided to conduct surveys for a specific market to gain in-depth analysis and establish a marketing strategy accordingly.

Showrooms and warehouses

Assistance is provided to set up warehouses and showrooms in lease or rental accommodation according to the market study conducted.

Display in international departmental stores

This offers assistance for local exporters and distributors to collaborate with major international stores to promote Indian products.

Brand campaign

Assistance provided with intensive publicity campaigns to improve brand identity.

Participation in trade fairs abroad

Here, assistance is provided for participation in trade fairs and exhibitions at potentially regions abroad on focus country-product basis.

Assistance to cottage and handicrafts units

Assistance with critical activities and developing a website for virtual exhibition.

Research and product development

This assistance is for selective exporters, EPCs and trade promotion organizations provided for product research purposes.

Eligible agencies under MAI scheme

Following are some of the organizations and agencies that can receive assistance of the scheme5:
• Export Promotion Councils recognized by the Department of Commerce and Industry
• Departments of Government of India, organizations of central/state governments
• Industrial and artisan clusters recognized by the Government of India
• Apex trade bodies recognized under the Foreign Trade Policy
Commodity Boards
• Institutions of National Importance (INIs) IITs, IIMs, NIDs, NIFT and the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade

Eligibility to avail MAI grant

Following are some of the eligibility criteria to avail MAI grant:
• Eligible agencies must create a comprehensive project for market access on focus-country, focus-product approach. A particular product in a specific market should be studied for a duration of 2 to 3 years to get the best results.
• Project findings are not duplicated with any existing organization or activity in the same field.
• The scheme will not offer assistance to activities under the project that have already received assistance under Marketing Development Assistance (MDA).
• Project funding will be based on cost sharing.

Components of the MAI scheme

The scheme offers financial assistance to develop new markets, promote products and consolidate existing markets. Following are some of the vital components of the scheme:

1. Capacity building of exporters related to standards and regulations, export packaging, skill development and training
2. Branding, publicity campaigns, marketing and cataloguing
3. Promotion of traditional products and services like yoga, AYUSH, crafts and artisanal products
4. Promotion of communication technology, e-business tools, development of web portals
5. Export market research and product development
6. Organize and participate in exhibitions, fairs and trade shows
7. Host buyer-seller meets
8. Display GI, artisanal and other Indian products at international stores, shopping areas and airports
9. Reimburse expenses of exporters on statutory compliances
10. Components decided by the Empowered Committee within the norms of the scheme

What is not covered under MAI scheme?

Agencies that are not registered in India will not receive assistance under the MAI scheme. Apart from that, activities that do not support the empowerment of Indian exports are not covered under the scheme.

The Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme strives to promote Indian goods and services in new international markets. With e-commerce exports, selling internationally has become easy and hassle-free, opening doors to many opportunities for exporters.

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With the growing demand for Indian products in international marketplaces, exporters and Indian sellers are keen to expand their businesses to the world. Amazon Global Selling is an e-commerce exports program that enables exporters and MSMEs to start and grow their export business in 200+ countries and territories. The exporter can simply register with the program in four simple steps and reach millions of customers shopping on 18+ Amazon international marketplaces.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the validity of the Market Access Initiative Scheme?
The Market Access Initiative Scheme is valid from April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2026.
What is the minimum period of membership in EPCH to benefit from the MAI Scheme?
Members must have completed at least 12 months of membership with the EPC and should also be filing returns6.
Can MAI be availed without having membership in an Export Promotion Council?
No, only registered EPC members can avail MAI benefits.
Published on November 30, 2022.


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