Government's £20m fund for businesses to get Brexit advice opens for applications

Government's £20m fund for businesses to get Brexit advice opens for applications
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Mon 15th Mar 2021

Small businesses can from today apply for grants of up to £2,000 to get advice on managing changes to customs and tax rules for trading with the EU.

Announced by the government in February, the £20m SME Brexit Support Fund is aimed at businesses that trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes. They can use the money to pay for training and advice on areas including customs rules of origin and VAT rules.

Applications are open here until 30 June 2021 (or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date).

To apply, your business must:

  • have been established in the UK for at least 12 months before submitting the application, or currently hold Authorised Economic Operator status

  • not have previously failed to meet its tax or customs obligations

  • have no more than 500 employees

  • have no more than £100m turnover

  • import or export goods between Great Britain and the EU, or moves goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Your business must also either:

  • complete (or intend to complete) import or export declarations internally for its own goods

  • use someone else to complete import or export declarations but requires additional capability internally to effectively import or export (such as advice on rules of origin or advice on dealing with a supply chain)

Businesses can use the grant for:

  • training on how to complete customs declarations; how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems; and specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin.

  • professional advice for meeting customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

Enterprise Nation has long campaigned for the government to introduce vouchers to help businesses export and has several export advisers on the platform who can help small businesses.

News of the grants opening for applications follows the government extending the date of changes to import border control processes to 1 January 2022, six months later than originally planned, due to businesses continuing to struggle with the new rules.

Katherine Green and Sophie Dean, directors general, borders and trade at HMRC said: "We recognise that changes to customs rules have been challenging for small and micro businesses, and this is why we are encouraging business owners to apply for support through the SME Brexit Support Fund.

"We do not take for granted that the UK's small businesses - from designers creating bespoke handmade pieces from their kitchen tables, to those selling sweet treats - are vital to the growth and prosperity of our economy, so we look forward to supporting them with practical help to do business with our European partners, on top of a wide range of support available from the government."

Find export advisers to spend your grant with here.

Access advice, connect with exporting experts and ask questions through Enterprise Nation's Brexit Advice Service.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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