The British Music Abroad scheme will send 18 U.K. acts to annual music festival and conference South by South West (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, March 18 to 22.

The scheme -- funded by U.K. Trade and Investment, British Underground on behalf of Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation -- has given over 100 local acts around £200,000 ($277,000) worth of grants over the past two years. These grants are used to cover travel and accommodation to events such as SXSW. It targets bands that are making an impact locally and are ready to gain exposure on an international level.

Six of the acts -- Bishi, Theoretical Girl, Sam Isaac, My Federation, Sons of Albion and Friends Electric -- will perform at the PRS Foundation British Music Abroad showcase at the British Music Embassy event at Latitude 30 on March 21.

It will be the first branded showcase held by the PRS Foundation - a charitable foundation that supports new music - at SXSW.

"British Music Abroad raises the profile and success of British acts both abroad and at home," said Vanessa Reed, director of the PRS Foundation, in a statement. "We've previously supported Bat for Lashes, Sway and Karima Francis who have all achieved notable success, proving that this is an important investment in one of the U.K.'s strongest exports: new music."

Before applying, acts had to be invited to perform a showcase by the organizers of the various international events that qualify the British Music Abroad scheme. A spokesperson from PRS tells Billboard.biz there were twice the amount of applications than last year, possibly due to SXSW organizers contacting U.K. acts with information about the scheme. The amount of funding, however, did not increase from 2008.

Meanwhile, PRS for Music, which supports the PRS Foundation, will co-sponsor the Kerrang! party with Guitar Hero on March 19 and the official Q Magazine party with Guitar Hero on March 21.