Despite Brexit uncertainty, it is apparent that UK businesses are still keen to do business internationally
Access to finance and resources is still seen as one of the key blockers of doing so. It is true that some of the traditional forms of finance have made it difficult for businesses to raise the required capital and make the required investment to successfully do this, but luckily help is at hand.
The government, through the two departments UK Export Finance (UKEF) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have a number of initiatives to help business achieve their international aspirations.
One would be forgiven for thinking, why would they want to help ‘little old me’, but nothing could be further from the truth. They are especially interested in the SME sector, because like us, they recognise that it is within our sector where the engine room for our economy sits. The government has set aside £40bn of financing to help exporters, of which there remains c.£20bn of business assistance. For the avoidance of doubt, this is not free money and the commercial and the financial rational still needs to be robust, but if you are struggling to articulate it, we can help pull this together in a coherent manner.
We have recently held a number of meetings with representatives of UKEF and DIT to see how they can help you, summarised below:
Department for International Trade
- Helping businesses sell overseas: tailored support and advice on how to start exporting or increase the amount of goods and services you sell overseas, access to special deals negotiated by the UK government for UK business, access to events and country export guides
- Getting local market help to sell overseas: specialists who can help you with country and sector advice, local market research, support during overseas visits, identification of possible business partners, preparation for and access to exhibitions and events
- Helping UK businesses expand into overseas markets: using the DITs international networks, information on the main forms of overseas investment and on overseas investment opportunities for your products or service
- Connecting overseas buyers with UK businesses: ability to sign up to the ‘find a buyer’ service, which allows you to promote your products and services to international buyers
UK Export Finance
- Helping exporters win contracts: Can assist with attractive financing terms to help UK exporters be more competitive and attractive to buyers of UK goods and services
- Helping exporters fulfil contracts: Can assist companies access the working capital they need to fulfil or take on more international contracts
- Helping exporters get paid: Insurance products against the risk of not being paid, or of not being able to recover the costs of fulfilling an export contract