Posted: Tue 22nd Jun 2021
Time is running out for small businesses to apply for a £20m grant scheme to access professional advice on dealing with changes to exporting to and importing from the European Union.
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. Businesses can apply here and applications close on 30 June.
Businesses can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 and use it to pay 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.
To apply, your business must:
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
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
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)
Enterprise Nation's call for export vouchers
Enterprise Nation has long campaigned for the government to introduce vouchers to help small businesses export.
When the SME Brexit Support Fund was announced, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones said: "This is excellent news for small businesses that have been hit particularly hard by new export regulations. Enterprise Nation first called for this in 2016 because it was clear then that there would be an extra cost burden on micro and small firms.
"In our view this should be spent on advice from an expert or specific training to help firms get over the current barriers to trade - form filling, border handling costs and logistics.
"Small firms tell us the communication around the changes has been less than helpful. This will go some way to appease this."
The latest figures show 12,000 businesses have registered interest in the fund but only around 3,000 have actually applied for a grant.
The Enterprise Nation community includes export advisers and VAT experts with who you might be able to spend your grant. If you successfully apply for an SME Brexit Support Fund grant and you use it with an Enterprise Nation adviser, let us know.
For advice on dealing with the impact of Brexit, visit Enterprise Nation's Brexit Advice Service.