Government scraps millions in small firms' export funding

LAUNCHPAD: Despite all the pontificating about helping out small companies, politicians have shifted their focus to getting medium-sized businesses exporting.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 31 Jul 2014

If the number of speeches and promises are anything to go by, small businesses and getting Britain exporting are two of the government’s favourite things. It turns out, though, that funding to help small companies overseas is actually being cut or axed altogether.
 
The Passport to Export scheme, which helps businesses with less than 250 employees start exporting, started match-funding firms’ investments up to £3,000 just last year, spending £1.5m in 2013. That was slashed to £1,000 in February and was ditched completely last week, according to the Telegraph.
 
Meanwhile, other programmes have had their funding cut, including Gateway to Global Growth, which supports experienced small and medium-sized exporters, and the Export Communications Review, which helps with language and cultural barriers.
 
UKTI said that the increased budgets for the latter two schemes in 2013 were only ever meant to be one offs. ‘UKTI is committed to supporting small and medium sized business to grow overseas and overall budgets have not been cut,’ it told the Telegraph.
 
It looks like small businesses are actually being sidelined in favour of medium-sized ones (with turnover of £25m-£250m). In April, George Osborne announced an extra £4m every year to triple the number of international trade advisers dedicated to them. Rather than figuring out which of the innumerable, now poorly-funded schemes is best for them, it looks like small businesses heading abroad are going to have to go it alone.

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