UK Export Finance unveils extra support for SME exporters

  • The government’s export credit agency has announced new measures to help small businesses access more exporting opportunities than ever at its annual conference
  • Addressing up to 1,000 business leaders and industry delegates, the Minister for Exports revealed that UKEF can now fast-track applications for competitive trade finance worth up to £10 million – double the previous limit

UK Export Finance (UKEF) announces today at its annual conference that it is introducing more flexible, fast-track financing for small businesses – making it easier than ever for UK firms to sell in international markets.

More fast-track funding for small UK exporters

The export credit agency has expanded its ‘auto-inclusion’ scheme which provides fast-track access to trade finance products like the General Export Facility. This means that small businesses can now access more government-backed credit more quickly without manual intervention from UKEF.  

The maximum support which UKEF can offer under auto-inclusion has doubled from £5 million to £10 million, meaning that UK exporters can access more support with a simple request through a participating bank.

This is a boost for small businesses, which have already unlocked over £280 million in financing through the fast-track scheme since it was unveiled in 2021.

The maximum tenor for loans under the General Export Facility has also increased from two to five years, giving businesses more flexible repayment terms where most needed.

New ‘invest-to-export’ product secures investment supporting over 2,000 jobs

UKEF has announced its first ever ‘Invest-to-Export’ loan guarantee, securing a major overseas investment in North-East England. Helping South Korean manufacturer SeAH Steel Holding to build a wind technology factory in Teesside, this UKEF-backed financing will support more than 1,500 jobs in the UK supply chain as the factory creates major opportunities for suppliers small and large. This first use of the ‘invest-to-export’ EDG product heralds the availability of more funding to support businesses investing in new UK export opportunities.

Tim Reid, CEO at UK Export Finance, said:

We’re proud to celebrate another successful year of supporting UK businesses. In speaking with our customers – and especially with small businesses – it’s clear that ease of accessing finance and flexibility in repayment terms make a big difference for firms wanting to export.

We’re confident that our announcements will unlock even more deals for UK firms looking to sell to the world, whether they’re exporting for the first time or looking for the latest in a long line of export successes.

New routes into major overseas markets

Around 7,500 SMEs from the UK export to India, one of the UK’s closest trading partners.[1] A new agreement between UKEF and HSBC India paves the way towards a financing programme to support UK exporters hoping to enter this market.  

The two organisations will today sign a Letter of Intent outlining their ambition to establish a financing programme under UKEF’s Standard Buyer Loan Guarantee (SBLG) programme. This would unlock up to £100 million in potential loans allowing Indian buyers to purchase UK goods and services.

Commenting on the Letter of Intent, Stuart Tait, Head of Commercial Banking at HSBC UK, said:

HSBC UK has a strong relationship with UKEF, supporting British exporters to achieve their global ambitions. As one of the world’s leading international banks, we’re uniquely positioned to support the growth of trade and investment between India and the UK. We look forward to helping UK businesses tap into more opportunities – using our global network to bridge customers, cultures and economies.

Today’s conference includes speeches from UKEF’s CEO Tim Reid and Lord Malcom Offord, Minister for Exports, alongside senior leaders from major financial institutions and partner organisations.  

This follows the Autumn Statement yesterday, which unveiled that the government will offer additional support to help SMEs access global markets through UK Export Finance.


Link: UK Export Finance unveils extra support for SME exporters
Source: Assent Information Services

New multi-million pound Programme helps British SMEs lead the way on net zero air travel

  • Government launches new funding Programme targeting cutting-edge SME aerospace research projects to advance net zero aviation and boost high-skilled jobs.
  • Worth up to £10 million per year, the Programme will help secure more high-skilled aerospace jobs across the UK.
  • Funding provided through the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) will drive innovative UK SME research projects and grow UK’s share of global aerospace sector, helping to grow the economy.

Cutting-edge British aerospace companies are set to benefit from a new multi-million pound SME Programme that will secure high-skilled jobs and help the UK lead the way on greener air travel.

The Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) SME Programme will offer UK-based small and medium-sized firms the chance to bid for a share of £10 million total funding per year towards their innovative research projects.

The Programme is being announced by Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani today (14 November) at the ATI’s 2023 Conference in Birmingham. It will be delivered in partnership with the ATI and Innovate UK.

Industry Minister Nusrat Ghani said:

I’m delighted to announce the new ATI SME Funding Programme, which will help propel our world-leading aerospace sector to new heights in the pursuit of innovative, clean, green air travel.

UK aerospace businesses, with their expertise and innovation, are helping drive the industry on its journey to Net Zero by 2050, and in the process are helping us grow the UK economy and support high-skill, high-wage jobs.

ATI CEO Gary Elliott said:

We know from the success of the ATI Programme that supporting advanced technologies secures market share for the UK, bringing economic benefit and delivering against the sector’s sustainability commitments on our journey to Destination Zero.

By connecting capability and funding technology development, the SME Programme will benefit organisations of all sizes across the nations and regions of the UK.

The new Programme will open to applications in February 2024 and aims to give SMEs the best opportunities possible to apply for funding to develop innovative technologies supporting the Government’s commitment to Jet Zero.

This is the plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions for commercial aircraft by 2050, while also keeping the UK’s aerospace industry competitive in the sustainable design, manufacture, assembly and operation of future aircraft.

The Programme will allow SMEs in the UK aerospace sector to bid for grants of up to £1.5 million each, helping to boost high-skilled jobs in the industry across the UK.

It also builds on the Government’s commitment to backing UK aerospace R&D to succeed, as demonstrated by the ATI Programme, for which government provided £685 million in 2022.

Support for organisations engaging with the SME Programme will be delivered by the ATI Hub. This will include sessions with ATI technologists, themed innovation workshops and guidance on preparing for a pitch-panel presentation.

The ATI Hub can also generate new connections between start-ups, SMEs, bigger and tier one organisations which could become consortia applications to the SME Programme.


  • The ATI Programme is a joint government and industry investment. Its purpose is to competitively offer funding for research and technology development in the UK, to maintain and grow the UK’s competitive position in civil aerospace and accelerate the transition to net zero aviation.
  • The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) has a well-developed approach to supporting the aerospace sector, including: £685 million of funding for the ATI Programme; the Aerospace Growth Partnership sector council which has developed the Destination Zero strategy for aerospace, a technology strategy developed by the ATI, and support for airline sales campaigns.
  • The new SME scheme will be funded through the ATI Programme.

Link: New multi-million pound Programme helps British SMEs lead the way on net zero air travel
Source: Assent Information Services