Scotland: a trading nation

A plan for growing Scotland's exports.

6.3 Export finance

Access to finance is an important issue for businesses in a number of ways but particularly when it comes to exporting. This can include insurance against risks of non-payment by customers in particular markets or working capital to support the potentially lengthy processes of supply into international markets. There is very little quantitative evidence on export finance, however, through our engagement with a range of stakeholders, including UK Export Finance (UKEF), banks and business organisations we have identified the following issues:

1. It can be confusing for business to understand the potential finance options available to them and how to access these options.

2. Private sector export finance is harder to secure in current market conditions, making the offer by UKEF even more important.

3. UKEF provide helpful support for specific problems but it is a complex process and requires a lot of time and support. 

4. UKEF and banks are receiving very few referrals from other sources. This may be because businesses are not aware of what is available or are not meeting the complex requirements of both banks and UKEF. 

5. There is a potential issue with businesses having access to and managing export insurances properly. It was also suggested that there was an information gap around this type of financial support.

6. Much of the feedback suggested that there was not a problem with export finance per se but that there was a gap in the understanding of what was available in business finance support more generally, particularly through the public sector.

We will:

1. Work closely with experienced exporters to understand uptake of export finance and to help them navigate the export finance system.

2 Use a marketing campaign to raise awareness of export finance to help businesses navigate the complex landscape around access to finance. This would be in partnership with private and public sector.

3. Work with SDI to extend the financial advice support available to businesses, building on the trade advisor work already taking place. 

4. Continue to work with experts in the Trade Board to identify other actions we can take over the longer term to help businesses access appropriate export finance, including export insurance. 

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