UK Government unveils SME Brexit support fund

16 Feb 2021

On 11 February, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, announced a £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund. The scheme is designed to help businesses overcome the challenges posed by changes to trade rules within the EU.

Moving boxes

The SME Brexit Support Fund will help company owners to adjust to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU. New import controls will be implemented in three stages from April to July 2021, as per the Government’s Border Operating Model.

This means businesses don’t have to complete new import declarations for up to six months – unless they’re moving controlled goods.

Grants of up to £2,000 available for each trader 

“SMEs who trade only with the EU and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes will be encouraged to apply for grants of up to £2,000 for each trader to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU,” the Government website reads.

The announcement follows a series of weekly discussions between a number of individual businesses, business organisations and trade associations (including the Brexit Taskforce). 

The fund has been described by participants in the conversations as “very significant” and essential for ensuring that SMEs can “adapt and succeed in the new trading environment”. 

The SME Brexit Support Fund will be open for applications in March. The funds will be administered through the existing Customs Grant Scheme. 

What support is available for SMEs new to importing or exporting?

If your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover, you could get up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice. On the 15th March 2021, the government announced how SMEs could access the SME Brexit Support Fund.

If your business is eligible, you can use the grant for training on:

  • how to complete customs declarations

  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems

  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

The grant can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

The grants are being administered for HMRC by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and applications will close on 30 June 2021 or earlier if all funding is allocated before this date.

How can Funding Options help?

While the new fund to support SMEs will undoubtedly make a huge difference, we’re aware that many businesses will be looking for additional funding during this time of change. 

Funding Options has been selected by the British Business Bank as a designated platform to find finance for businesses. Whether you need a quick cash injection or a longer-term business funding solution, we can match you with an option that fits.

So far, we’ve helped almost 10,000 business owners to secure business finance, from flexible unsecured loans to bridging finance. We’ve also processed more than £240M in CBILS loans for UK SMEs who have experienced cash flow disruption due to the pandemic. See what you could be eligible for today.


Simon Cureton

Chief Executive Officer

Simon has been Chief Executive Officer at Funding Options since 2019, spearheading its transformation into a leading fintech with the launch of its Funding Cloud platform. Simon has over 27 years of experience in financial services, having held senior posts at some of the biggest players in the industry all over the world.

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