Application deadline approaches for £2,000 grants to help tackle Brexit challenges

Application deadline approaches for £2,000 grants to help tackle Brexit challenges
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

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.

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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