News in brief: Seedrs; trade missions; export confidence

Seedrs to commence beta test in the US

News in brief
News in brief

Seedrs has announced it will commence a beta test of its platform in the US within weeks, following a vote by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to implement Title III of the JOBS Act.

Seedrs believes the SEC vote on Title III of the JOBS Act represents a significant step forward for early-stage and growth-focused businesses that wish to use equity crowdfunding as a platform to raise capital for their businesses.

Seedrs CEO Jeff Lynn said: “I have had the privilege of being involved in the lawmaking process for US crowdfunding ever since the JOBS Act was introduced in 2011, and I am very pleased to see that the SEC has finally adopted rules implementing Title III. We believe this heralds the emergence of equity crowdfunding as a vibrant form of finance in the United States -- just as it has become in the UK and Europe -- and Seedrs is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the sector’s growth. The beta testing we are announcing today will be our first foray into the market, and we look forward to growing our presence there significantly in 2016.”

Ten UK SMEs to attend trade mission to the US

Ten of the UK’s most ambitious, fast-growth businesses are to visit the US on a seven-day trade mission to Boston in early November organised by Santander Corporate & Commercial. The aim is to help each firm secure trading relationships and international trading agreements with local US businesses, and is part of a series of trade missions that Santander regularly organises for UK SMEs.

The businesses involved are Budge Brands, CCOMM, Dionach, Martindale Pharma, Morgan Innovation & Technology, Optilead, Oxford Plastic Systems, SM Sauces, STATSports Technologies and Vapormatt. The trade mission will include a networking reception hosted by UKTI, and visits to MIT, Harvard and the Cambridge Innovation Centre, as well as bespoke one-to-one meetings for the delegation.

Head of breakthrough at Santander Corporate & Commercial Jonathan Rostron said: “The United States is a major trading partner for UK businesses and Santander is dedicated to helping UK SMEs capitalise on export opportunities like this. Our trade missions are tangible proof that we help UK SMEs achieve their international ambitions, and we are sure that this visit to the US will result in meaningful trading opportunities for the ten businesses involved.”

Drop in export growth and confidence among UK exporters

A report from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and DHL has revealed a drop in both export growth and confidence among UK exporters. While export orders have remained constant for just over half (54%) of UK businesses, and 50% report that export sales have remained the same as in the previous quarter, both have fallen to their lowest level since Q2 2009.

The report also finds that confidence in expectations over turnover and profitability have worsened, with 13% reporting that they expect a fall in turnover (from 7% in Q2), and 16% expecting a fall in profits (from 11%).

BCC director general John Longworth, said: “Driving export growth is key to reducing the UK’s deficit and maintaining our global competitiveness. These figures make it clear that the UK’s export drive is at risk of going into reverse gear, precisely at the time when it needs to be moving forward.

“Many firms are currently operating at capacity and are in need of support to invest in machinery or staff. Those businesses considering taking the leap and breaking into new markets desperately need access to the growth funding and working capital to enable this transformation.”