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New measures to boost small business exports

 

Plans to encourage exporting amongst smaller companies have been outlined by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable.

 

Following concerns over a decline in UK exports, four new schemes are being launched to help exporters gain access to credit and insure themselves against risk.

 

They include an extension of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme (EFG) to exporters, offering export finance of up to £1m to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

For those not eligible for the EFG, a new Export Working Capital Scheme will be established, providing finance worth over £1m.

 

In addition, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) is setting up a Bond Support Scheme in which the Government will share risk with lending banks on the issue of contract bonds. The ECGD has also pledged to support banks offering foreign exchange hedging contracts to SMEs by sharing credit risk.

 

Commenting on the plans, Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, said: ‘Our exporters are crucial to securing the recovery and we want to do everything we can to help them grow. This new support will help British exporters compete and win business overseas.’

 

However, recent research by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) found that the majority of firms polled are not interested in exporting their products or services overseas.

 

Some 70% of the 8,000 firms surveyed said they only sold their merchandise in the UK, while just 10% of companies said they would try selling more overseas if additional help was available.

 

‘Too many of our companies lack an exporting culture, even though they produce high quality goods and services,’ stated the BCC’s director general, David Frost.