Up to £38 million in grant funding has been made available for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seeking to trade overseas, it has been announced.
The initiative forms part of a package of new measures designed to help businesses across England “build back better” after the coronavirus pandemic.
Under the scheme, small businesses can apply for financial support through the £38 million Internationalisation Fund, which is intended to help “up to 7,600 SMEs in England grow their overseas trading and strengthen their business”.
The fund, which is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and is administered by UK Export Finance (UKEF), will be combined with additional support for exporters through the introduction of 64 new International Trade Advisors (ITAs).
The trade specialists will be strategically located across England to support Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and South West.
Announcing the scheme, Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, said: “The package will ensure businesses are supported from the start, with more funding, more Trade Advisors and the establishment of the Export Academy to help businesses build back better.”
Welcoming the new measures, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair, Mike Cherry, said the fund comes at a critical time for small firms who are looking to “expand or begin their trading journeys”.
He added: “By supporting small firms to trade, it means that many businesses will be able to look ahead with confidence to the new trading landscape that awaits us in the coming months.”