Export dreams come true as government support secures £2.5m funding from Santander UK for Dewsbury bed manufacturer

When Airbnb hit the scene in 2007, the site was a way for people to make extra cash by renting out a room in their own home. Fast forward 16 years and it is now full of “entire places” to rent, many used solely as holiday lets, without any owners present.

The UK government has secured a £2.5m funding package alongside Santander UK to help Dewsbury furniture manufacturer Jay-Be fuel its export growth.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), a government department which exists to help UK firms win, deliver and get paid for export contracts, provided support for the bed and mattress specialist by issuing a General Export Facility (GEF) loan guarantee. This allows Jay-Be to access a £2.5m funding package from Santander UK.

The GEF is a game-changing product for existing or prospective UK exporters, allowing smaller firms to access up to £25m in trade finance without a specific export contract.

Already a supplier to high street names like John Lewis, Bensons for Beds and Next, Jay-Be began exporting in 2012 and now serves customers in more than 15 countries. With this foothold, it will now be able to use UKEF support to ramp up its international sales and bring a Yorkshire export to more people than ever.

Based in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury, Jay-Be designs and makes all of its products in the UK. Further expansion overseas will help to support jobs within the UK manufacturing sector.

The newly announced UK government guarantee means that Jay-Be can continue its export growth by extending its next-day delivery service to overseas regions where it operates. The extra £2.5m will allow it to invest in overseas facilities where it can keep local stocks, making it possible for the Dewsbury firm to deliver to customers all over the world within a single day.

This is the latest instance of UKEF helping small and medium-sized enterprises across the country access trade funding from the private sector. Four in every five companies which the export credit agency supported in the last year were small-to-medium-sized companies and based outside London.

This deal is also a step forwards for sustainable UK manufacturing, which will help this country’s innovative exports reach a wider international audience than ever. Jay-Be uses materials like sustainably sourced wood and recycled plastic. In 2023, it won the British Furniture Manufacturers ‘Future of Furniture Excellence in Sustainability Award’.

Tim Reid, CEO of UK Export Finance, said: “Our General Export Facility means that UK businesses can access up to £25 million in trade finance without tying it to one specific contract; this deal with award-winning Yorkshire manufacturer Jay-Be shows the difference which this can make for existing exporters who dream of accessing more global markets. I wish Jay-Be the very best success in its growth plans.”

Alissia Deane, UKEF Export Finance Manager for West Yorkshire, added: “UKEF exists to help businesses nationwide win and deliver export contracts, offering free, impartial advice through its regional Export Finance Managers as a starting point. This announcement of our support for Jay-Be shows the value which we, working alongside financial institutions like Santander UK, can bring to innovative companies looking to grow their global presence.”