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CBI Calls For Better Export Finance Access

New Report Calls For Expansion Of UKEF Support For SMEs


A new report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called for more to be done to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access finance which will allow them to move forward with their international ambitions.

The 'Go Your Own Way' report, published in conjunction with BDO, found that half of medium-sized businesses see exporting to new markets as a vital part of their growth strategy and 78 per cent expecting to generate more revenue from investment abroad in the next three years.

However, it also found that such firms had little knowledge of schemes offered by the Government to support such work, including the UK Export Finance initiative (UKEF).

According to the CBI, just 52 SMEs received direct assistance from UKEF in the past 12 months and the new report calls for expansion in support from the campaign to directly assist 250 small firms by 2015.

Katja Hall, chief policy director at the CBI, said there was a “disturbing gap in export finance” that is “shackling” international ambitions.

The report has come following research by Global Lingo which suggested that 59 per cent of SMEs are concerned that an obstacle to trading overseas would be language barriers.

Expert Opinion
While many start-ups naturally look domestically following their initial formation, looking abroad for opportunities is now a natural part of the progression and evolution of growing businesses.

"This report has raised serious concerns however, particularly with the idea that SMEs are simply unaware of the financial support which is available to them to move into new, international markets.

"It is vital that the Government reacts strongly to this report, specifically in improving awareness and promotion of the finance initiatives that smaller businesses have the chance to access.

"Finance is of course only part of the story too and it is important that businesses also consider other support, including legal advice, to ensure they are ready for taking steps into international growth."
Fergal Dowling, Partner