Finance for export

Exporting can bring secure, long-term growth for successful businesses. But starting to sell overseas or expanding your existing export business can put a strain on your cashflow. In the short term there can be additional upfront costs, such as logistical costs, product customisation or additional payroll costs.

Export finance can help you meet these upfront costs and allow you to:

  • increase your available working capital to fulfil export orders
  • get paid earlier for completed orders
  • offer better payment terms to your customers so you remain competitive

If you’re a new business, usually trading for under 2 years, you may be eligible for a startup loan.

Both new and more experienced exporters may qualify for government-backed finance through UK Export Finance (UKEF), which seeks to ensure no viable UK export fails due to lack of finance or insurance from the private sector. As the UK’s export credit agency, UKEF can issue loans, guarantees and insurance policies to help you offer competitive terms to your buyers while managing your cash flow and payment risks. Most of the companies UKEF supports are small or medium-sized, but it supports exports for any size of company and across all sectors. Speak to one of their export finance managers for free, impartial guidance on finance for exporting.

Support is also available from the following Exporting is GREAT partner companies and organisations. These include online finance platforms, which represent hundreds of FCA-regulated and approved UK lenders. Finance options are available for companies that have been turned down for traditional bank finance. If you’ve been trading for under 2 years, you may be eligible for a variety of start-up loans or could benefit from crowdfunding options.

Get export finance help from our GREAT partners

  • Alternative Business Funding

    Alternative Business Funding Ltd operates a simple-to-use, web-based platform, that matches SMEs looking for finance with suitable and relevant sources of funding. The platform brings together the market leaders in alternative finance and, using the Funder Finder engine, matches businesses with appropriate finance solutions. This includes short to long-term loans, asset, invoice and trade finance, along with many other options.

    Find out how Alternative Business Funding can help.

  • Better Business Finance

    Better Business Finance provides impartial information and support to businesses and entrepreneurs, whether starting out, seeking finance, or wanting to export abroad. It was set up by Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander in 2011 and is managed by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) in collaboration with its business and finance partners.

    It can provide mentoring support, along with information on exactly what help and finance is available.

    Find out more about how Better Business Finance can help.

  • Business Finance Compared

    Business finance compared connects small businesses with the finance they need to grow. It is an online platform dedicated to helping UK SMEs find and compare alternative sources of funding to grow and support their business through the use of innovative technology and analytics. The platform is not only focused on alternative sources of funding but also offers UK businesses a wealth of independent, impartial information and news related content for business insurance, business banking and other business services. In the Spring 2016 budget it was announced that Business Finance Compared would be one of three finance platforms designated by the government to help match SME borrowers to alternative lenders.

    Find out how Business Finance Compared can help.

  • Capitalise

    Capitalise has partnered with over 70 institutional lenders to offer finance to SMEs.  Whether a business needs to increase goods production to satisfy a bigger order or limit the impact of reduced cash flow until invoices are paid, Capitalise can match an application with lenders who are most likely to offer favourable terms.

    Compare specialist lenders and access a huge range of borrowing options such as trade finance, working capital, asset finance, and invoice finance. Businesses can receive lender options quickly, at no cost and track the progress of applications online.

    Find out how Capitalise can help.

  • Find SME Finance

    Find SME Finance was created by the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) to enable small businesses to get access to commercial finance through an approved independent UK broker.

    Find out more about how SME Finance can help.


  • Pension-led Funding

    Pension-led Funding has now helped more than 2,000 UK SMEs finance their own businesses, to the tune of more than £210 million, using money from their accumulated pensions as an alternative source of business funding.

    With more than 20 years of specialised work in the field of pensions and business funding, is one of the largest providers of alternative business funding in the UK.

    This form of funding is ideal for SMEs seeking working capital for growth or enhanced cash flow. Although Pension-led funding is not sector specific it is an excellent source of finance for exporting businesses as it sits happily alongside other more traditional financing propositions. Pension-led funding also has the benefit of keeping owners in direct control of their business finances while reducing the risks associated with debentures and personal guarantees commonplace in traditional business financing.

    Find out more about Pension-led Funding.

  • Funding Circle

    Funding Circle is the world’s leading direct lending platform, connecting investors who want to lend with businesses looking to grow. Since launching in 2010, Funding Circle has helped more than 22,000 businesses access over $2.7 billion globally. The process is fast and simple. Apply online in just 10 minutes, get a decision within two days and see the funds in your account typically within a week. You can borrow between £5,000 and £1 million across 6 months to 5 years, with rates starting from 4.9%. Each applicant has their own dedicated account manager to help guide you through the process whatever the loan purpose, whether it’s working capital, expansion funding, to buy new assets or simply paying off a deposit.

    Find out how Funding Circle can help.

  • Funding Options

    Funding Options believes that no viable UK export should fail for want of finance.

    Companies looking for finance can use Funding Options to match them with business loan providers. It’s a fast, simple transparent service with no obligation to buy. In the Spring 2016 budget it was announced that Funding Options would be one of three finance platforms designated by the government to help match SME borrowers to alternative lenders.

    Customers input some information about their business and finance needs, and modern technology quickly scans the market to find funding that fits the best from over 50 hand-picked providers. This is backed-up by a team of experienced and friendly business finance specialists. Funding options has helped firms from across the UK  to source tens of millions of pounds in vital finance from lenders.

    Find out how Funding Options can help.

  • Funding Xchange

    Funding Xchange turns the traditional credit process on its head by ensuring lenders come to the business to make offers, letting the business see indicative offers from lenders that want to fund them. Funding Xchange works with 45 finance providers including several providers specialising in companies exporting to Europe and beyond. The business chooses the offer that suits them – knowing that lenders have assessed their request and want to fund their business. Small business owners save time and money.Comparing options has no impact on credit. Funding Xchange has been designated by HM Treasury as one of three finance platforms to help small business access a broad range of funding solutions.

    Find out how Funding Xchange can help.

  • Barclays (financing for export)

    Whether a business is expanding or still yet to get off the ground, Barclays can help plan for future success.  It offers a range of funding solutions to help businesses export and grow abroad.

    Talk to Barclays International Managers to review business exports. All loans are subject to status, terms and conditions apply. Find out more.

  • HSBC Commercial Banking (financing for export)

    From small enterprises to global multinationals, HSBC partners with exporters to design trade solutions and financing structures that meet their needs today, and help set strategies for growth tomorrow. With trade solutions ranging from traditional paper-based documentary credits to sophisticated upstream supply chain financing, HSBC can help companies trade with confidence. Find out how HSBC can help

    New to exporting? HSBC is here to help. The Export Resource Centre, gives businesses information, tools and advice that they need. Visit the HSBC Export Resource Centre

  • Lloyds Banking Group (financing for export)

    Trading internationally often involves additional cost. Lloyds Banking Group has a range of export finance products and services for companies beginning to trade or building an export business. This includes pre-and post-shipment finance, to plan working capital when agreeing new contracts or to support operations while waiting for customer payment. Lloyds Banking Group can also help exporters with documentary collections to send and receive international payments, and documentary letters of credit to help guarantee payment.

    Find out how Lloyds Banking Group can help or get more information

  • NatWest (financing for export)

    Exporting can bring a unique range of challenges, not least to a company’s cashflow. Gain control over exports, improve finances and mitigate the risks of international trade with NatWest’s export finance solutions.

    NatWest is committed to supporting the UK export business. In addition to financial support, International Trade Advisers are ready with insights and contacts to help businesses share their skills globally.

    Find out how NatWest can help.

  • Start-up Loans

    Start-up Loans is a government-funded scheme providing advice, loans and mentoring to start-up businesses. It gives you the opportunity to borrow up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum and access to free business support to help you succeed. Backed by the government through the British Business Bank.

    Find more information on Start-up Loans.

  • Virgin StartUp

    Virgin StartUp (VSU) is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Virgin Group. Get the funding, resources and advice to make business ideas a reality, VSU can provide loans of up to £25k per founder for startups that are pre-trading or trading less than 2 years. It also gives free workshops and business advice for founders applying for funding, and access to mentoring and other Virgin Group opportunities once funding has been approved.

    Find out more about Virgin StartUp.