Last reviewed 25 November 2021

We reported recently on a new plan to help businesses across the UK to sell their world-class products around the globe (see Government sets out strategy to boost exports to £1 trillion).

The new strategy has been given a warm welcome by organisations representing smaller firms with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) saying that, properly executed, it will open up a lot of opportunities for small exporters, while helping to address some of the challenges they currently face on a daily basis.

FSB Chairman Mike Cherry said that new targeted support for small firms taking part in trade fairs through the Pilot UK Tradeshow Programme was particularly welcome.

He also praised the expansion of the Export Academy, as that should mean that more SMEs can take advantage of the support it offers, while the switch to electronic documentation will help streamline the exporting process for smaller firms struggling under the weight of paperwork.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) was equally warm in its response to the new Strategy.

Policy Advisor Emma Rowland said: “Our research shows organisations feel they are held back from exporting globally by their size, resource, and funding. The emphasis on support for SMEs within the strategy is therefore a positive step and will give businesses more confidence in their exporting capabilities.”

While accepting the Government’s emphasis on growing markets across the world, however, she warned that the Member States of the EU must not be overlooked in the UK’s future trade policy, as they remain its largest export markets.

The FSB also closed with a word of caution with Mr Cherry arguing that the “missing piece of the puzzle” is a revamped and relaunched SME Brexit Support Fund, designed to help smaller firms access the technical skills and advice they need to succeed internationally.