Government launches Export Growth Plan to help businesses in the South West build back better

A package of measures, including additional funding to help businesses in the South West of England recover and grow from the impact of Coronavirus has been announced by the government today.

The new Export Growth Plan includes 12 new International Trade Advisors (ITAs), who will provide direct support to small businesses in the South West, supplementing the existing support provided to businesses across the UK.

A pilot Export Academy scheme has also been introduced to support smaller businesses in the South West to begin their exporting journey. The Export Academy will deliver a series of activities that will build the capabilities of smaller businesses, creating a new cohort of confident businesses ready to trade.

In addition, a £3.6 million South Internationalisation Fund for small businesses has been created, which will help up to 720 businesses in the South West grow their overseas trading and maximise their profits from 2020-2023.

Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart MP, said: “The Government is negotiating trade deals around the world and we are determined to help UK businesses take advantage of the markets we are opening. So, as part of the recovery from coronavirus, I am delighted to announce this funding and support, which will be invaluable to businesses looking to begin or continue their exporting journeys.

“In 2019 we overtook France to become the world’s fifth largest exporter and this package is a statement of our confidence in UK companies to grow the UK as an exporting superpower. 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.

“As we continue to negotiate improved trading terms with leading countries around the world, it is important to ensure every business can reap the benefits of our free trade agreements.”

Federation of Small Businesses National Chair, Mike Cherry said: “We welcome these new funds and resources which come at a critical time for small firms who are looking to either expand or begin their trading journeys.

“It’s vital that these new International Trade Advisors are tasked with focusing small and micro businesses, not just medium-sized ones.  The smallest businesses often simply don’t have the same logistical financial means and can be overlooked in favour of firms with louder voices and more resources.  FSB will work with the Government to help make this happen.

“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.”

These new measures are the latest in a series of measures already announced by DIT since the Coronavirus outbreak.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government’s credit agency, can help businesses grow their overseas trade and build back from the impact of coronavirus. UKEF is expanding its network of regional Export Finance Managers to help local businesses secure the financing they need to trade internationally by appointing renewable energy specialists to put small businesses at the heart of the global transition to clean energy.

Full list of measures below:

  1. New South Internationalisation Fund for small businesses in England providing £3.6m within the South West that will help up to 720 businesses to internationalise from 2020-23. The funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund that the government is making available, drawing on contributions made during the UK’s membership of the EU.
  2. 12 new International Trade Advisers to provide direct support to small businesses in the South West.
  3. A new, pilot, Export Academy to support smaller businesses in the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine and South West who want to export.
  4. 2 Sector Specialists who will champion the Western Gateway to overseas markets and help drive investment into the region.
  5. A refreshed cohort of over 100 additional Export Champions across different industries in England, to help promote and support exports.