UK SMEs Get Export Finance
The Government has announced that £13 million of funding is to go towards helping UK small and medium-sized businesses in order to help them boost British exports.
Money will go to UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and is expected to help British companies to get connected with overseas markets.
The bulk of the money, some £9 million will go to a number of existing initiatives that are intended to increase trade opportunities for British businesses.
The Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) will use the extra funding to get UK SMEs attending and exhibiting at overseas trade shows.
The Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) which provides market research for first-time exporters, will be available at a substantially discounted rates. OMIS helps SMEs to find contacts overseas & develop relationships in expanding markets.
There will be additional financial support for firms involved in overseas trade missions.
As well as the £9 million for the aforementioned services, a further £2.5 million will be available to help businesses access existing high-value overseas opportunities that UKTI has already identified and another £1.5 million will go to projects that attract inward investment into the United Kingdom.
Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, said of the new push for exporters:
“One of our major ambitions for growth is to boost UK exports: we have to excel in trade. Small and medium-sized enterprises are crucial to this challenge – over half of the monetary value of the UK’s exports comes from SMEs.”
“SMEs are innovators in every sector, whether hi-tech or traditional, and they are major job creators for our economy employing almost 60 per cent of the private sector workforce. This extra funding will help those businesses already exporting to go further and explore new markets, and help those thinking of exporting to make that crucial first step.”
As for the figures of how many small and medium-sized businesses might actually see a positive boost from the latest export initiatives, Cable added:
“We anticipate that over 10,000 businesses will benefit from the additional funding, moving us closer to our ambition of getting 100,000 more businesses exporting British goods and services around the world.”
Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, was also upbeat about the additional money that his department would be using to boost UK exports, saying:
“UK Trade & Investment intends to double the number of companies it helps to 50,000 by 2015. We know that our help can have a transformative effect on businesses. On average, companies that work with UKTI go on to win additional sales of £100,000 within 18 months and 90% of those we support are small and medium-sized firms.”
“This extra investment will directly help businesses to travel abroad to showcase their products, find more customers, and make the contacts they need to succeed. As we look to trade more with high-growth markets outside the EU, we want to ensure businesses have the .support they need to realise their full potential.”
The ambitions of the latest export drive are to double the current amount of UK exports to a projected £1 trillion by 2020 and to get 100,000 more businesses involved in exporting.
Another aim of UKTI is to increase the proportion of British businesses that export; Compared to the rest of Europe, Britain has only 20% of its businesses exporting whereas on the continent the figure is 25%.
The £13 million comes from cost savings and underspend in the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ (BIS) annual budget back in financial year 2011/12.
The news is timely as Export Week 2012 will take place from the 12-16 November.