Government export finance support for small businesses

22 Dec 2020

UK Export Finance (UKEF) has launched a new guarantee scheme that frees up funds for UK businesses to cover the costs of international trade, supporting thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the country.

Exporters will be able to apply for finance from the UK’s five largest banks backed by a UKEF guarantee to free up working capital that can be used for everyday costs linked to exports and to scale up their business operations. This will help thousands of businesses, particularly SMEs, to fulfil multiple export contracts, pay for labour costs, build their inventory and ease cashflow constraints.

Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, will launch the General Export Facility (GEF) in a speech at UKEF’s ‘Trade and Export Finance Forum’. He will announce that the government is shaking up the support it provides for internationally focused companies to help bring new trading opportunities to businesses in every part of the country.

General Export Facility Features

GEF was developed in partnership with the banking and finance industry to support a range of trade finance products including trade loans, bonds, letter of credit lines, CapEx, and invoice financing.

The facility enables UKEF to provide a partial guarantee to lenders of up to 80% of the credit risk on facilities typically worth up to £25 million, with UKEF’s support no longer tied to individual export contracts. This follows the recent launch of the Export Development Guarantee in July 2020; a guarantee scheme that supports high value investment by major UK exporters.

UKEF has more than doubled the amount that HSBC, Lloyds Bank, NatWest, Santander, and Barclays can automatically administer to an exporter through its facilities from £2 million to £5 million.

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for GEF as a UK exporter, a business must:

self-certify that in any one of its last three financial years, at least 20% of its annual turnover has been made up of UK export sales, or in each of its last three financial years, at least 5% of its annual turnover has come from UK export sales

Full details of eligibility criteria are outlined on the GEF product page.

You can find your regional export finance manager, here.