Free Money (if you are trading overseas)
The £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund will help small businesses with changes to trade rules with the EU. Grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training.
It is clear to everyone that a lot of important detail and planning was not done ahead of Brexit, and the reality of being a 3rd Party Nation outside the Single Market and Customs Union is causing significant issues for many industrial sectors, and especially for fish, wine, clothing, foods, and high technology items. Services have a whole raft of issues that are not yet clarified fully.
This is, however, the new reality. There will be no material improvements to the terms and conditions with the EU in the near term, and many of the current arrangements have phase in periods and reviews, so may change again.
In recognition of this, the government has started to role out help, albeit in a small way, to help SMEs adapt.
I hope that all SMEs are innovating new solutions on validated concepts to adapt to the new reality - post COVID and post BREXIT anyway, but a little cash and assistance right now is going to really help
In addition to this new support, the government is prepared to:
Providing numerous helplines which businesses can contact if they need further information;
This includes managing dedicated HMRC exporting telephone and online helplines; The number is 0300 322 9434 and businesses can also speak to an adviser online at tax.service.gov.uk;
Running regular webinars with policy specialists;
Providing the Brexit Checker Tool on GOV.UK which gives businesses a personalised list of actions that they need to take;
Offering face-to-face support for exporters in delivered via a network of around 300 International Trade Advisers (ITAs);
Leading a specific taskforce working with businesses across Northern Ireland and Great Britain on issues related to the Northern Ireland Protocol; and
Operating a range of other support schemes including a guarantee scheme aimed at SMEs which means the government can provide an 80% guarantee on financial support from lenders to help with general exporting costs, up to the value of £25 million.
If you are an SME, you may also want to engage with your local Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Small Business, and CBI channels to ensure you view is reflected to Government. I would personally encourage direct paper letters to your MP that explain your personal experiences, good and bad, as this evolves.
Things are not the same, and the winners will be those who recognise reality and change positively the fastest.
Be a winner. Take the help.