It was welcome news when Lord Young, Enterprise Advisor to David Cameron, recently announced an injection of £30 million to fuel the growth of SMEs via support in critical areas including finance and cash flow.
Under the new Growth Voucher scheme, up to 20,000 SMEs based in England will be eligible to receive £2,000 worth of guidance and advice – providing they match the amount with their own funds.
Those eligible will have 49 employees or less, be registered in England, have been trading for at least one year, not have paid for business advice in the last 3 years and be independent (no more than 25% should be owned by other businesses or organisations). Businesses can find out if they can qualify on the Growth Vouchers programme website.
Run by small business network Enterprise Nation, the scheme will enable successful applicants to select the appropriate adviser to address their specific business issues. Growth Voucher advisors can be found on the Enterprise Nation Marketplace website and participants can claim back up to £2,000 from the government
Areas companies can seek help on are:
- finance and cash flow
- recruiting and developing staff
- improving leadership and management skills
- attracting and keeping customers
- making the most of digital technology
This is an excellent opportunity for IOE members to invest in. and expand, their global markets – and to act as advisers for those SMEs seeking to take their first steps into international trade.
As Chancellor George Osborne rightly said in a speech to Hong Kong’s business leaders this week, the UK is not exporting enough.
Speaking ahead of next month’s Budget, he commented: “I want to deliver a Budget that supports a Britain that invests and exports – a Budget which ensures that around the world, wherever you are, you can’t help but see “Made in Britain”.
The Government is emphatic that the UK recovery will be export-led. As highlighted in our IOE blog, a recent economic confidence survey of over 650 SMEs engaged in international trade revealed that more businesses are confident the export market will improve over the next 12 months.
The IOE urges our members to apply for the Growth Voucher Scheme. The programme is an integral part of a host of initiatives to boost British businesses including the Government’s Small Business: Great Ambition which makes it easier for small companies to grow and break into new markets at home and overseas.
Director General Lesley Batchelor said: “This is an exciting opportunity for SMEs seeking to move into global markets to harness the relevant advice and support. Investment such as this could help improve the growth of thousands of small businesses and help secure their long-term future.”