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New UK export strategy includes expanded ‘Export Academy’ for SMEs

SME manufacturers will benefit from new support measures to help them overcome common challenges exporters face as part of the government’s new 12-point export strategy.

The new strategy, Made in the UK, Sold to the World, sets out a vision to double UK exports to more than £1 trillion by 2030 by giving businesses the tools they need to reap the benefits of international trade.

Among the highlights is a new Export Support Service that offers a one-stop shop for exporting advice, and the launch of a pilot UK Tradeshow Programme (UKTP) which will aim to help SMEs understand and maximise the benefits of exhibiting at overseas tradeshows.

Match-funded grants of up to £9,000 are also available to help SMEs prepare for exporting through the Department for International Trade (DIT)’s Internationalisation Fund.

DIT is also expanding its Export Academy, a recently-launched service offering SMEs access to masterclasses, roundtables and networking events that help them overcome common challenges for first-time exporters.

Elsewhere, the UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), has been given a 20 per cent increase to its budget to expand its services. To improve its backing for SMEs, UKEF is making its ‘Bills and Notes Guarantee’ simpler and easier to access to ensure exporters get paid immediately for their goods. This is particularly aimed at helping smaller businesses with manufacturing exports of heavy goods like machinery, making British SMEs’ contract bids more attractive to overseas buyers.

UKEF is also working to expand its range of delivery partner financial institutions to challenger banks and alternative lenders, allowing more small businesses to benefit from its support. The first of these new accredited lenders, announced on 7 December, is finance provider Newable.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:

“This is a defining moment in our national trading story. As we agree ambitious new trade deals around the world, it is more vital than ever that businesses across the UK take advantage of these opportunities and unleash their full exporting potential.

“Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries. Reaching £1 trillion worth of exports by the end of this decade means more jobs, more opportunities and higher wages helping the UK to level up and build back better.”

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