SME news in brief: trade deficit, Labour, workspaces, exporting

SME news in brief
SME news in brief

Labour calls for workspaces for SMEs

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell's has recently announced that Labour would find new collaborative workspaces for 20,000 new entrepreneurs.

Federation of Small Businesses Policy Director Martin McTague welcomed this claim. He said: “Rent is seen by 23% of small firms as the main driver of increases in business costs, and so they will appreciate this idea to provide more shared working spaces for small firms to operate in.

“Recent planning changes have made it easier to convert office space into residential property. This has restricted the availability of business premises, driven up rent and priced many small businesses out of central areas in many towns and cities, particularly London."

Trade deficit is a red flag for small firms

The UK trade deficit stood at £4.8bn in February, causing concern for business leaders.

Commenting on the trade deficit, Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry said: “Since the start of this year, the trade deficit has widened significantly and this is of serious concern. Indeed, recent FSB research shows a worrying decline in export performance among small businesses.”

Cherry explained that small firms can make a significant contribution to the government’s target to increase the value of exports to £1 trillion and support 100,000 new exporters by 2020.

“But the government must ensure that the decision to refocus UKTI’s role and make exports a priority across government departments provides the right kind of support for those looking to export,” he said.

FedEx helps SMEs go global

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp, is helping small businesses go global by launching the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest in the United Kingdom. Giving small businesses the chance to win up to £20,000, FedEx is looking to help these companies expand and achieve their international ambitions.

Professor of Global Economy, Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, and FedEx Small Business Grant Contest Judge Joe Nellis said: “Many small businesses have big dreams, however it can sometimes be challenging to gain access to funding and even know where to start. The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest is providing these small businesses with the chance to boost their growth and reach the next level, helping them become the next generation of global brands.”