HSBC SME Fund to Boost Small Business Market Expansion

Small businesses planning to expand into emerging markets have been called on to apply for development funding, following the launch of HSBC’s £4 billion International SME Fund.

Aimed specifically at UK-based small firms planning to trade, or expanding their operations, in emerging international markets such as India and China, the fund is available to businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million. Further details of the fund are set to be unveiled in the next few weeks.

Small businesses interested in pitching for funding “would be expected to outline their plans for overseas trade”, according to an HSBC spokesman, while applications would be treated in the same way as other loan finance applications. Businesses should contact their local HSBC branch for details.

“There are big opportunities for small firms to get involved in international trade and this new lending pot enables firms to look at maximising these opportunities. We want businesses to talk to us about their plans,”

said the HSBC spokesman.

The launch of the fund coincided with a new HSBC report that showed UK exports to China and to India grew by 21% and 37% respectively in 2011. 

The bank’s economists have also forecasted that the UK is set to expand its international trade activity by 59% over the next 15 years, with global trade predicted to grow by 86% over the same period.

Meanwhile, growth in international trade will accelerate from 2014 as the global recession finally recedes, according to HSBC.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said that the new fund was positive news.

“Strengthening our export trade is likely to be a key route out of recession and small firms looking to grow in this direction should be helped as much as possible,”

said an FSB spokeswoman.

But eligibility and costs were still a problem for small businesses applying for loans, she added.

“Businesses are still being turned down for lending, and those who do get approved tell us that the terms are often prohibitive — being asked to put up their home as security for instance or pay exorbitant interest rates. Finance must be affordable and accessible for small firms if it is to be attractive to them.”

HSBC International SME Fund to Boost Small Business Market Expansion

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