UK Export Finance unveils extra support for SME exporters

Posted on 23 Nov 2023 by The Manufacturer

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has announced today at its annual conference that it is introducing more flexible, fast-track financing for small businesses – making it easier than ever for UK firms to sell in international markets. 

More fast-track funding for small UK exporters

The export credit agency has expanded its ‘auto-inclusion’ scheme which provides fast-track access to trade finance products like the General Export Facility. This means that small businesses can now access more government-backed credit more quickly without manual intervention from UKEF.

The maximum support which UKEF can offer under auto-inclusion has doubled from £5m to £10m, meaning that UK exporters can access more support with a simple request through a participating bank.

This is a boost for small businesses, which have already unlocked over £280m in financing through the fast-track scheme since it was unveiled in 2021.

The maximum tenor for loans under the General Export Facility has also increased from two to five years, giving businesses more flexible repayment terms where most needed.

New ‘invest-to-export’ product secures investment supporting over 2,000 jobs

UKEF has announced its first ever ‘Invest-to-Export’ loan guarantee, securing a major overseas investment in North-East England. Helping South Korean manufacturer SeAH Steel Holding to build a wind technology factory in Teesside, this UKEF-backed financing will support more than 1,500 jobs in the UK supply chain as the factory creates major opportunities for suppliers small and large. This first use of the ‘invest-to-export’ EDG product heralds the availability of more funding to support businesses investing in new UK export opportunities.

Tim Reid, CEO at UK Export Finance, said: “We’re proud to celebrate another successful year of supporting UK businesses. In speaking with our customers – and especially with small businesses – it’s clear that ease of accessing finance and flexibility in repayment terms make a big difference for firms wanting to export.

“We’re confident that our announcements will unlock even more deals for UK firms looking to sell to the world, whether they’re exporting for the first time or looking for the latest in a long line of export successes.”

New routes into major overseas markets

Around 7,500 SMEs from the UK export to India, one of the UK’s closest trading partners.[1] A new agreement between UKEF and HSBC India paves the way towards a financing programme to support UK exporters hoping to enter this market.

The two organisations will today sign a Letter of Intent outlining their ambition to establish a financing programme under UKEF’s Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee (SBLG) programme. This would unlock up to £100 million in potential loans allowing Indian buyers to purchase UK goods and services.

Commenting on the Letter of Intent, Stuart Tait, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, said: “HSBC UK has a strong relationship with UKEF, supporting British exporters to achieve their global ambitions. As one of the world’s leading international banks, we’re uniquely positioned to support the growth of trade and investment between India and the UK. We look forward to helping UK businesses tap into more opportunities – using our global network to bridge customers, cultures and economies.”

Today’s conference includes speeches from UKEF’s CEO Tim Reid and Lord Malcom Offord, Minister for Exports, alongside senior leaders from major financial institutions and partner organisations.

This follows the Autumn Statement yesterday, which unveiled that the government will offer additional support to help SMEs access global markets through UK Export Finance.

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