Posted: Tue 13th Dec 2016
At a time when the UK is exiting Europe and large economies are opening up to the world, you could say there's never been a better time for British businesses to go global and sell their products and services to the world.
At Enterprise Nation we believe Export Vouchers have a key role to play in increasing international trade and stimulating an export culture in the smallest of firms. This is why we're part of a call from the Small Business Taskforce for the government to direct funding to launching such a programme.
What are Export Vouchers?
Based on the successful Growth Vouchers programme introduced in 2014, a small business owner would apply for an Export Voucher to spend on advice or trade trips to help their business expand overseas.
The business owner would match-fund the investment so, for example, if a business owner applied for a voucher to be spent on a trade mission that cost £2,000 or on web localisation services of the same value, the business would pay £1,000 and the government, via an Export Voucher, would match this with £1,000.
We support this approach of match funding as it means the business values the advice or services paid for, the money is spent on rated and reviewed private sector providers, and government gives a helping hand by matching the investment.
Why is exporting important?
Exporting is a tried and tested route to minimise risk. If the domestic market shrinks and you have healthy sales from overseas, this makes for a resilient company. Added to this is an increasing appetite for 'Made or Designed in Britain' products and services from countries such as China, Australia, Singapore, Middle East and the US. Both make for pressing reasons to look beyond UK shores for custom.
What's the likelihood of Export Vouchers being introduced?
We'd like to think likely! An Export Vouchers pilot has been conducted and the Department for International Trade is evaluating results. If the case can be made to HM Treasury to spend public money in this way, Export Vouchers could potentially be introduced in 2017.
What is the role of the Small Business Taskforce?
The Taskforce is made up of 15 organisations that are united in the belief that an entrepreneurial economy is good for Britain, and that small businesses should be encouraged and supported to thrive.
The group collectively represents over two million small businesses and ensures these businesses have a voice to government and the provision of modern business support. Throughout 2017, the taskforce will work on a number of issues, from tax to trade, education and procurement.
At Enterprise Nation, we are pleased to be a member of the Taskforce and support the call for Export Vouchers to be introduced.