While Australian SME exporters continue to win contracts against global competitors, many find it difficult to access the finance they need to secure these opportunities.
It’s a topic that often comes up in our conversations with SMEs and is a barrier that consistently holds them back from competing internationally.
The good news is that recent legislative changes have improved this situation and will allows us to help more SME exporters access the finance they need to succeed overseas.
Helping more SMEs
In response to these legislative changes, we’ve introduced a new flexible loan product called the Export Contract Loan, which will make it easier for SME exporters, and those in export supply chains, to access the finance they need when their bank is unable to help.
Our Export Contract Loan has a streamlined application and approval process, which could save every SME that applies significant fees and processing time.
Designed with the needs of SMEs in mind, this new loan product is aimed at those exporters and export supply chain participants needing export related finance between $100,000-$500,000.
An Australian success story
A number of clients have already benefited from our new Export Contract Loan, the first being Unison Joints, a Queensland-based manufacturer of expansion joints.
Unison’s loan was approved just a few days after the product was launched, helping it to secure a high-profile supply contract in Saudi Arabia.
Despite being well-known locally and having a strong reputation for delivering on international projects, Unison’s bank required more tangible security before it would approve any additional funding – money that was needed to meet the contract’s significant upfront material and labour costs.
Unison’s experience isn’t unique, as many SMEs struggle to obtain finance from their bank, as they often lack the necessary collateral – like ‘bricks and mortar’ assets or inventory – that the banks need to extend their current funding arrangements.
A bright future for Australian SMEs
SMEs continue to be the backbone of the Australian economy, providing employment to 70 per cent of the Australian workforce and accounting for 60 per cent of national income.
The March 2015 results of our SME Exporter Sentiment research show that, for those SMEs surveyed, exports now make up 16% of total revenue, with this forecast to grow by another 4% in the next 12 months.
We’re excited that we will be able to support even more SME exporters with a loan that is tailored to their needs, helping them to win more export contracts and grow internationally.