Enterprise Nation takes over running countries trade missions following UKTI cuts


The Government’s export arm is handing over responsibility for small business trade missions to small business network Enterprise Nation (EN) as part of a policy to increase outsourcing of roles in the wake of government cuts.

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will no longer assume the cost for these exploratory missions for small firms, with sponsorship from HSBC, accountancy firm KPMG, Paypal stepping in.

EN founder Emma Jones said: “We want to create £25m in additional value through these missions in 2016”

In 2016, EN plans to take 200 small businesses to five countries in Europe, the US and Asia. The organisation has run two similar missions over the past two years, with 100 small firms generating £6m-worth of business.

UKTI’s budget is set to fall by £42m over the next four years, forcing the body to focus solely on high-value projects.

“The situation in Government now is clear: if the private sector can deliver business and export support, why should the taxpayer pay for it?” Jones said.

EN supports the notion that the private sector could pick up the slack in this area but Jones warned that the withdrawal of Government funding from small business programmes could have a “psychological impact” on company bosses.

“As the programmes disappear, will small businesses just stop reaching out for support because they think there’s nothing out there?” she said.

EN trade missions are part-funded by the small businesses themselves, as well as private sponsorship. It is not clear whether UKTI will contribute any funding.

“Government and the private sector are working together like never before to ensure exporters get all the advice, support and overseas connections they need,” said UKTI chief executive Dr Catherine Raines.
The Government has stated a target of helping 100,000 new exporters by 2020. This is a revision of a previous goal to make £1 trillion in exports by the same date.