Autumn Statement: New £45m boost for small businesses to improve British exports

Chancellor wants SMEs to trade internationally

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The Independent Online

The Chancellor has announced a £45 million boost to help small businesses export their goods and services beyond the crisis-ridden Eurozone and the US.

George Osborne said some of Britain’s 4.9 million small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would receive the cash to help them to export to fast-growing economies in Asia, Africa and South America.

The announcement came days after Antonio Horta-Osorio, the boss of Lloyds Banking Group, said that smaller businesses must be more “outward looking” if they are to drive economic growth.

Horta-Osorio told a CBI conference that there remains “untapped potential” across the country, and that “rebalancing the UK economy will require businesses to be ambitious in seeking new export markets”.

“For this,” he added, “we need to look beyond our traditional partners in western Europe and the US, and seek out new export markets in the growth economies — be it in Asia or South America.”

Research by the Federation of Small Businesses found that £792 million could be added to the UK’s economy each year if more SMEs began to export their products. The Government has an ambitious targets to get 100,000 new businesses exporting by 2020, potentially adding £5.6 billion to the economy at the same time.

Much of Germany’s economic success since the beginning of the 1900s has been attributed to the “Mittelstand” — the large network of medium-sized manufacturers which export around the world.