Partner Events


On Friday, 16th April on behalf of the County Durham Community Foundation and the Stanley Fund, Stand Out For Stanley Day was launched via a Facebook video (the online event starts at around 22 minutes in).

What is Stand Out For Stanley?

Dress up, dress down, jump up or jump around, at home or work and fundraise for the Stanley Community Fund.  Many projects have benefited from the fund so far and have changed hundreds of lives for the better.  Now it is time to celebrate these achievements, and stand together for a brighter, better Stanley.  Now and for always.

MP Kevan Jones and some of the community groups who have been supported by the Stanley fund so far spoke at the event.  We also told you how to play your part on the Stand Out Day which will take place on Friday, 30th April, where we aim to raise £2021 to support community groups in Stanley.  Alongside this we will give you all the tools you need to make an impact and be part of our media campaign to shout about your involvement.

Many businesses, schools and organisations have signed up already and we would love to have you onboard too.  Let's all stand together and make this a day to be remembered.


Masterclasses, workshops and conferences to drive your business forward digitally.

All Masterclasses can be viewed here.


  • Thursday, 29th April (10:00-12:00) - Website Design - Part 4 of 4 - DIY using Wix or Wordpress.  Presented by Steven Parker.  Wix and WordPress are two of the most widely used website design software that enable users to create high-end looking, functional websites.  In this session web design specialist Steven Parker will be providing a one hour demo on Wix and WordPress to help those looking to design and build their own website an insight into both website design solutions.  This event is Part 4 of our Introduction to Website Design mini-series, this session comes in four sections: Part 1: DIY v Professional; Part 2: Working with Professionals; Part 3: Building an E-commerce store; and Part 4: DIY using Wix or WordPress.  Book here.
  • Friday, 30th April (10:00-11:30) - Networking Morning and Digital Spotlight Session.  Join us for a morning of networking and hear from guest speakers who will share their top tips in digital marketing.  About the Event: Hear from Digitial Marketing experts and network with like-minded businesses from across County Durham: make new connections, learn new hints & tips and be inspired to drive your business forward.  Book here. 
  • Wednesday, 5th May (10:00-12:00) - Online Course Creation.  Presented by Pascal Fintoni.  Using a 'follow along' format you will work on your strategy and future plans to convert your knowledge as well as your content into online training sessions that will resonate with your audience.  This interactive session will include modules on: (i) the different reasons for creating online courses(ii) free, freemium and fee-paying courses, which is best for you?(iii) formats and learning experiences to choose from(iv) using micro-learning sessions to get valuable feedback(v) creating courses is the first step, marketing them is the real challenge(vi) apps and online platforms that can make life easier(vii) open Q&A and your course creation action plan.  This unique online masterclass is designed for consultants and coaches who are thinking about creating online resources and courses to market their products and services or to add an additional revenue stream. You will be invited to ask your questions and share your experience to date with others.  Let's work together to take our online services to the next level on 2021!  Book here.
  • Tuesday, 11th May (10:00-12:00) - Level Up Your Facebook Ads.  Presented by Natalie Eminae.  Level Up Your Facebook Ads - Pay Pennies, Drive Sales.  In an increasingly connected world, Facebook Advertising has transformed the playing field for your businesses.  In this advanced webinar, Natalie Eminae shows you how to explore your Facebook advertising options to target your ideal customers and retain existing ones, and demonstrates how to create highly effective ads that cost pennies and convert to sales for your business.  Natalie explains how to design, understand and optimise your Facebook Advertising in a way that delivers real value and ROI - whether you’re looking for business enquiries or simply to better promote your company.  Beyond the basics, we’ll be looking at applying the power of your own data, lookalike audiences and the infamous Facebook pixel to truly level up your Facebook Ads.  Book here.
  • Thursday, 13th May (10:00-12:00) - Show off your products at their best with great photos and videos.  Delivered by photographer and branding specialist Laura Pearman.  We live in a world now where buying pretty much anything from jewellery to furniture to even a car is now commonplace as an online experience.  For the small product business owner this can feel incredibly daunting, but with Laura’s skills as a brand strategist and creative director she’ll be helping you figure out the right aesthetic for the way your products should be showcased online.  Then she’ll show you how to create all of your online content with just a smartphone and some budget-buys in a DIY approach to improve your online sales and the wider understanding of how amazing your business is.  With a look at editing and processing your content into an easy-to-follow workflow, Laura will also leave you with some of her expert tips on how you can begin looking at outsourcing this as your business grows.  The why to the how to the outsourcing.  Everything you need as an online product business.  Book here.
  • Wednesday, 19th May (10:00-12:00) - Local SEO and Google My Business.  Presented by Jonny Ross.  64% of consumers use Google My Business to find contact details of shops and businesses online.  Learn how to optimise your Google My Business (GMB) listing to driving customer engagement, generating sales and increase online reach!  Led by digital strategist Jonny Ross, this session on google my business will cover: (i) Claiming a listing; (ii) Optimising a listing; (iii) Building high Quality Local Citations; (iv) Joining the dots using schema; and (v) The important of reviews and much more!  Book here.
  • Thursday, 20th May (10:00-12:00) - Selling your products through Facebook and Instagram Shops.  Delivered by social media specialist Natalie Eminae.  The addition of Facebook (and Instagram!) Shops to the biggest social networks has revolutionised e-commerce for small businesses across the globe.  This practical session covers everything you need to know to get started with Shops, from verifying your account to maximizing your sales!  During the webinar, Natalie will demonstrate Facebook and Instagram Shop functionality and best practice.  Specifically tailored for small producers, we’ll be looking at how to get the best possible return for your Facebook or Instagram Shop, how to best manage and optimise your listings, and delving into the world of what customers really want.  Beyond the basics, we’ll be looking at creating a memorable digital shopping experience, building brand loyalty, and setting yourself apart from the competition.  So, if you’re a maker, producer, crafter or creator, don’t miss this insightful webinar… Ready, steady, Shop!  Book here.
  • Thursday, 27th May (10:00-12:00) - Vlogging and Vodcasting.  Presented by Ian Farrar.  Book here.
  • Friday, 28th May (10:00-11:30) - Digital Drive Durham - May Networking Morning.  Book here.
  • Wednesday, 23rd June (10:00-12:00) - Your 2021-2022 Digital Marketing Plan.  Presented by Pascal Fintoni.  Book here.
  • Wednesday, 2nd June (10:00-12:00) - Get found by new customers online - simple SEO basics (including Google My Business).  Delivered by SEO expert Steven Parker Specially designed for small producers delving into the online world, this session will look at the essentials that need to be covered in order for search engines to find your website and then start to surface your content to their users.  Book here.
  • Thursday, 10th June (9:30-16:30) - Digital Drive LIVE - Hear from world class speakers: (i) discover the secrets to social media ad success; (ii) learn how to create videos/vlogs for your own business; (iii) understand how to reach new customers through Google; (iv) discover what you need in your digital marketing strategy for 2021.  Plus much more.  Book here.
  • Tuesday, 15th June (10:00-12:00) - Selling through Google - setting up Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping and Google Ads to maximise your impact.  In this session, Jonny will explain how your business can make the most of three powerful online retail tools: Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping and Google Ads.  Book here.
  • Wednesday, 23rd June (10:00-12:00) - Your 2021-22 Digital Marketing Action Plan.  Book here.
  • Friday, 25th June (10:00-11:30) - Networking Morning and Digital Spotlight Session.  Join us for a morning of networking and hear from guest speakers who will share their top tips in digital marketing.  Hear from Digitial Marketing experts and network with like-minded businesses from across County Durham: (i) make new connections; (ii) learn new hints & tips; and (iii) be inspired to drive your business forward.  Book here.
  • Tuesday, 29th June (10:00-12:00) - Create Better Online Content Faster in 2021-2022.   Presented by Pascal Fintoni.  Book here.
  • Tuesday, 6th July (10:00-12:00) - Website Design - Digital Transformation in Marketing and Sales Part 1.  Presented by Jonny Ross.  Book here.
  • Tuesday, 13th July (10:00-12:00) - Digital Transformation in Marketing and Sales Part 2.  Book here.


Digital Drive are running a specialist series of support for small producers based in County Durham (food and drink/craft/homeware - basically anything being made and sold to the public).

The programme is specifically designed for small producers.  Please attached a PDF that gives much more information on what the sessions will cover, but briefly we’ll have 4 webinars, as well as a digital health check and a 1-2-1 meeting with a digital adviser for each business:

  • Thursday, 13th May - 10:00-12:00 - Show off your products at their best with great photos and videos.
  • Thursday, 20th May 10:00-12:00 - Selling your products through Facebook and Instagram Shops.
  • Wednesday, 2nd June - 10:00-12:00 - Get found by new customers online - simple SEO basics (including Google My Business).
  • Tuesday, 15th June - 10:00-12:00 - Selling through Google - setting up Google Merchant Center, Google Shopping and Google Ads the right way.

Those interested can contact Digital Drive via their website, by email or call 0191 716 0960 just to let them know which of the sessions you are interested in, or book directly via the website.


Digital Drive Grant Funding

Funding is up to 40% contribution.

Minimum spend is £2,500 excl VAT.

We have no maximum project cap, however the maximum grant we could award would be £9,999.

Funding can be used for the following:

  • Digital consultancy: this can be any ‘one-off’ outside expertise relating to digital technology e.g. social media strategy, internet telephony, integration of systems, automation of back office systems, search engine optimisation etc.
  • Digital Equipment: Must be new to the business and help improve your own use of digital technology e.g. for remote working, increase efficiency, entering new markets/diversifying services etc.  We cannot fund basic office kit out, or buying more of the same item (e.g. for a new member of staff).
  • Website/software/apps: Building a website for those who don’t have one, adding new functionality, e-commerce (maintenance, basic design improvements, hosting and ongoing costs are ineligible). Software must be a one-off purchase to be eligible/owned outright by the business. We are unable to pay for ongoing subscriptions or yearly licences.
  • Broadband installation and equipment/improvements (excludes monthly subscriptions, building work/street works).

Anyone wishing to make an application needs to register their interest here.

If they are already registered, they can just email or contact Helen on 0191 716 0992 or email:


The Durham Business Recovery Grant is a £5million fund to help County Durham businesses to recover from the effects of Covid-19.

Who can apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant

Eligible businesses are those businesses able to demonstrate that they:

  • have a significant operational base, but less than 250 employees in County Durham
  • were established before 11 March 2020
  • are set up for profit and registered to pay tax on profit (in any format, eg sole trader, limited company)
  • use a business bank account (separating personal and business finance)
  • can demonstrate a significant adverse impact from Covid-19
  • can demonstrate solvency
  • can outline a credible and costed recovery plan
  • can fund their share of the recovery plan

Social enterprises (for example, community interest companies) are eligible provided they meet the above and can demonstrate that they generate 51% or more of their sales from commercial activity (excluding income from donations, grants and contracts not won through a competitive process).

Who cannot apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant

The following are not eligible to apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant:

  • registered charities
  • organisations set up to provide:
    • local social welfare and community facilities, for example hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, fire stations, child-minding facilities, sports clubs and societies, parks, public libraries
    • housing rental as part of an investment portfolio
    • public services or activities to supplement public services, for example social housing or school age education.
  • businesses whose activities may bring the council's name or reputation into disrepute

If you're not eligible, North East Growth Hub's list of finance and funding provides a list of grants available, or see Business Durham Covid-19 business support brochure.

How to apply

Before you apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant, please read the essential information - Durham Business Recovery Grant - essential information to help you prepare your application.  The quality of your application will reflect the decision turnaround time of the application process.

Apply for a Durham Business Recovery Grant online


CLLD uses structural funds from Europe to provide support to projects which will increase employment and skills and social enterprise.  There are two programmes operating within specific areas of County Durham. Click the links below to find out more.

  • North Durham CLLD covers areas Chester-le-Street, Pelton Fell, Whitehills and Pelton, Sacriston, South Stanley, Craghead around the outskirts of Annfield Plain and Harelaw.  Current calls are:
    • North ESF - open call
    • North ERDF non-capital - open call (with extended delivery time to December 2022)
    • North ERDF capital - currently closed
    • South Durham CLLD covers Bishop Auckland, Coundon, Leeholme, Shildon, Spennymoor, St Helen Auckland and West Auckland
    • South ERDF non-capital call - now open and delivery time has been extended until Dec 2022
    • South ESF - currently closed.


Free 121 Advice for Developing your International Brand - DIT North East, in collaboration with Cowell+George are offering a fully funded troubleshooting session to review how your branding can help succeed overseas.  Available between 1st Feb – 5th March.  Specialists in marketing, advertising and branding, Cowell+George will review your business strategies and help you grow your brand awareness internationally by conducting a brief audit of the businesses existing communications, such as brand identity, social platforms, website presence and marketing collateral.  Providing you with expert advice, specific to the business with recommendations on how to enhance and optimise the performance of your brand strategies with your existing exporting strategies. To register, please click here.

B2C E-Commerce: Global Fast Track Programme (16/02/2021 - 08/04/2021).  DIT North East are offering a fully funded in-depth virtual training programme, delivered by e-Commerce and digital specialists, and designed to help you fast track your international growth.  This programme aims to help you assess each area of your business performance and create an action plan for 2021 and beyond. The introductory webinar will be followed by a seven-week programme, click here for further information.

DIT North East would like your input in shaping our 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme We’re asking North East businesses which topics they feel would be most beneficial to maximise export potential. Have your say with our short survey here.

Royal Mail are designing a “Delivered Duties Paid” (DDP) service that takes care of VAT and customs duties for EU buyers prior to delivery, this fulfilment solution means you don’t need to register in each EU country to be able to sell goods including all duties, ideal for shopify or ecommerce sellers, potentially launching Feb/March, find our more by clicking here here (this link also has a good explanation of the current VAT process and changes due in July).

HMRC are running Exporting Webinars.  The webinar explains what actions you need to take to export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, key export processes, border controls, zero-rated VAT, customs declaration, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates and authorisations that you’ll need.  Please click here for further details an to reserve your place.

Rules of Origin: Check your goods comply to trade tariff-free with the EU.  Many of the queries we are getting at DIT are about the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU which includes important changes for Rules of Origin.  Put simply, this is where a product was manufactured and determines the “economic nationality” of goods (think of it as a birth certificate for the goods).  You can trade with the EU without paying tariffs, but only if a product meets the relevant rules.  Check for details on how to claim preferential (zero) tariffs, and see the documentation you’ll need to complete. Also, read the full guidance on meeting Rules of Origin when trading with the EU.

DIT Internationalisation Fund – Grants up to £9k per business - Available now until early 2023 - 50% to 60% grants to be used for exporting advice from third party private sector experts /consultants to help prepare for international trade, which may include: market research, market selection and entry advice, advice on Intellectual Property Rights, cross cultural negotiation support and standards, translation and cultural advice, international trade legal advice, PR support, international social media and search engine optimisation, international marketing, routes to market/agency advice, overseas business environment, and due diligence.  Participation in Trade Fairs, Trade Missions and independent market development visits etc.  The application process is a discussion about proposed activities, then if suitable an export action plan is completed, then an online application link, it is then assessed and administered by a third party organisation on behalf of DIT.  Only one application can be submitted, but can include multiple activities.

Social Media – A big thank you to Paul for supplying us with this very useful information.  You can reach Paul on his LinkedIn page and/or his Twitter feed - he regularly post updates on DIT opportunities, exporting issues and support from other business organisations across the North East.

Further national and local DIT events can be found here.


During uncertain times it's important to come together to share experiences and support each other. We may be isolated but we aren't alone.

Join us for our virtual events, including networking, business surgeries and webinars, designed to help you find advice, support and guidance for your small business during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The events are free and open to all small businesses and the self-employed across the UK.  For a list of upcoming events, please click here.


The Export Academy from the Department for International Trade will help you grow your business by showing you how to sell to new customers around the world.

The course is FREE, and you’ll learn directly from experts in international trade who are on hand to provide support across a range of sectors and businesses, from selling children’s clothes to Spain, to providing PR services for clients in the US.

The programme is designed for owners and senior managers of businesses with a turnover of up to £500,000. 

What does the programme include?

You will graduate from the programme with a completed export action plan, enabling you to take your business direct to international customers.  This plan will be the culmination of everything you have learnt on the programme, from online events including:

  • Webinars
  • Round tables
  • Mentoring sessions

Registration Process: 

  • Step 1: Apply via the register button, selecting your relevant region
  • Step 2: Complete sign up questions and short questionnaire 
  • Step 3: Eligible applications will be notified, and event details will be provided via email

Click here to start the registration process.


All the webinars are free to UK companies.

You can expect to:

  • receive help and advice to sell overseas with confidence
  • gain new skills and knowledge
  • discover solutions to specific challenges to exporting
  • get your exporting questions answered by the experts

How long are the webinars?

Our experts usually present for 25 minutes and allow 35 minutes for answering your questions and helping you find solutions to any barriers you may face.

Look through the list to find the webinars you would like to attend.

Each link will connect you to a webinar registration form so you can receive your unique link to join the upcoming webinar.


Citylife Business Support is a new service for SMEs who have be adversely affected by COVID-19.  Funded though the £1.5 million Capacity Fund that was granted to Newcastle City Council by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, it is part of the city’s commitment to supporting businesses, voluntary and community organisations and unemployed residents who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19.

A package of free support has been developed that will focus on enabling businesses to develop and implement new models of delivery to help them recover and plan for their future.

Find out more here.



Whether you’re working alone or running a team, there are a number of dates you need to remember in the business calendar, from tax to employment.  Get set for the year ahead with our small business checklist for 2021.

First Voice reported that HMRC will be taking a lenient stance to people who file their Self-Assessment after 31 January 2021, as long as it can be proven the delay was due to coronavirus.  HMRC have confirmed that if you can't file your Self-Assessment by the 31st January 2021 deadline, you will not receive a late filing penalty as long as you file online by 28th February 2021.

We’ve summarised the key dates for your diary this year, including tax deadlines for the self-employed, the start of new IR35 rules and important dates for the UK’s new relationship with the EU. 

Self-employed tax deadlines

As a sole trader, you’ll pay your income tax and National Insurance liabilities in two stages, known as payments on account.  These are payments in advance towards your tax bill.

  • 31st January 2021 - balance of any tax for year 2019/20 is due
  • 31st January 2021 - first payment on account of tax for year 2020/21 is due
  • 31st July 2021 - second payment on account of tax for 2020/21 due
  • 31st January 2022 - balance of any tax for year 2020/21 is due
  • 31st January 2022 - first payment on account of tax for year 2021/22 is due

Don’t forget, you can contact HMRC Time to Pay or set up a payment plan 

if you’re having difficulties. You have to pay interest if you pay late, so do this as soon as possible. 


You must file your Self-Assessment Tax Return before:

  • 31st October following the end of the tax year for a paper return.
  • 31st January following the end of the tax year for an online return.

New to self-employment?

You must notify HMRC of the potential chargeability to tax and National Insurance Contributions by 5th October following the end of the tax year in which your business started.  So, the deadline for the 2020-21 tax year is 5 October 2021.

If a new partner has joined you in the 2020-21 tax year, you should notify HMRC by 5 October 2021.

New IR35 rules

Reforms to off-payroll working rules (IR35) for private sector contractors and freelancers will come into force from 6 April 2021.

Responsibility for determining your status as inside or outside IR35 will lie with the end-client under the new legislation.  This means the business using your services will be responsible for deciding your employment status.

Find out what the new rules will mean for freelancershow you can get ready for changes and what the difference between inside and outside IR35 will mean for you.

Does your business work with freelancers or contractors?

You may be affected if you’re a client who receives services from a worker through their intermediary.  From 6th April 2021, freelancers won’t have the responsibility for determining the IR35 status of an engagement unless they’re working with a small company in the private sector that has:

  • An annual turnover of £10.2 million or less
  • A balance sheet total less than £5.1 million
  • Less than 50 employees


When you’re managing a team, there are annual payroll reporting and payment deadlines that you need to remember.

  • 6th April 2021 - Update employee payroll records for the new tax year
  • 19th May 2021 - Submit your Employer Annual Return, including P14 (income tax, National Insurance and deductions for each employee) and P35 (summary of all deductions for all employees in the tax year)
  • 31st May 2021 - give a P60 to all employees on your payroll who are working for you on the last day of the tax year
  • 6th July 2021 - reporting of employee expenses and benefits
  • 19th July 2021 - payment of Class 1A NICs by post, 22 July 2021 if paid electronically

Applying for the EU Settlement Scheme

The new immigration system was rolled out on the 1st December 2020 for non-European nationals and became effective for European nationals, who are planning to arrive in the UK for the first time post-transition, from the 1st January 2021.

For example, if your employee was a resident before the end of the transition period (31st December 2020), they must apply for the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30th June 2021.

Frontier worker permits

From the 1st July 2021, a new frontier worker permit is required by those who work in the UK but live abroad.  Find out who might need a permit and how to apply.

Hiring talent from abroad?

We’re here to help.  FSB members can access specialist immigration support from qualified and experienced immigration lawyers at clear and discounted costs.

Data protection post-transition

As part of the UK’s new trade deal, the EU has agreed to delay transfer restrictions for at least four months, which can be extended to six months (known as the bridge).

The UK Government are seeking adequacy decisions from the European Commission.  In the absence of adequacy decisions at the end of the bridge, transfers from the European Economic Area (EEA) to the UK will need to comply with EU GDPR transfer restrictions.

Learn more about what you can do to prepare with our guide to data protection post-transition.

Stay up to date with the latest legal news

Be the first to know about upcoming deadlines and legal issues that matter to small businesses and the self-employed with our monthly Legal Bulletin, exclusively for FSB members

FSB Legal Hub

Factsheets and downloads for: Employment Law, Taxation Matters, Business Law and Health & Safety information.  All free.  As well as monthly bulletins.  Find our more here.


EU Exit Update

Business Minister Paul Scully has set out six key actions businesses must take to ensure you avoid potential disruption to your operations.

  1. Goods - if you import or export goods to the EU, you must get an EORI number, make customs declarations or employ an agent to do them for you, check if your goods require extra papers (like plant or animal products) and speak to the EU business you're trading with to make sure they're completing the right EU paperwork.
  2. Services - if you deliver services to the EU, you must check whether your professional qualification is recognised by the appropriate EU regulator.
  3. People - if you need to hire skilled staff from the EU, you must apply to become a licensed sponsor.
  4. Travel - if you need to travel to the EU for business, you must check whether you need a visa or work permit.
  5. Data - if your goods are protected by Intellectual Property (IP), you will need to check the new rules for parallel exporting IP protected goods from the UK to the EU.
  6. Accounting and reporting - if your business has a presence in the EU you may need to change how you undertake accounting and reporting to ensure compliance with the relevant requirements.

These key actions should act as a guide for every business affected by the new rules, with more detailed, personalised advice available through the checker tool on here.

You can visit the Brexit Transition toolkit here.

Understanding how EU Transition and COVID-19 is impacting on your business

We'd value your feedback to help us to understand how EU Transition and COVID-19 is impacting your business to share with Government and support North East COVID-19 Recovery planning.

Please take 10 minutes out of your day to complete the survey.

Kickstart Scheme

More than 120,000 jobs for 16 to 24 year olds have now been created through the Kickstart scheme.

From 3rd February there are changes being made to this scheme.  The government are making it even simpler for employers of all sizes to benefit from joining the scheme by removing the limit requiring you need to create a minimum of 30 vacancies to apply directly.

You can continue to partner with one of the many gateway organisations and the scheme will run until December 2021.  For further information, please click here.

Business Insights Session: Plan for Jobs

Join the North East Ambition team from the North East LEP to find out how businesses can protect, support and create jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic using government's Plans for Jobs.

Plan for Jobs comprises various schemes and initiatives to support people into employment and help businesses retain and recruit staff.  They include:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Traineeships
  • Kickstart scheme

Please click here to book your place.

Digital Boost scheme

Digital Boost are here to help charities and small businesses get the essential digital skills they need.  This is done by matching organisations in need with digital experts to offer one on one conversations and practical webinars for free.  For further information, please click here.

Internationalisation Fund

The Department for International Trade has launched a fund for match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000.  The grant can be used for market research, international social media/SEO and more.  For further information, please click here.


Catch up with our newest resources and guides designed to support you.  This month, learn how to take card payments securely, get prepared for upcoming data protection changes and find out how other small business owners are preparing for the end of the UK/EU transition period.

Don’t forget to visit our coronavirus hub for the latest news and support.

Business Basics: Taking card payments securely

Now an essential for many smaller businesses, credit card processing is a convenient choice for many consumers and one that continues to see rapid growth.  However, phishing attacks are on the rise. Download our guide and we’ll will take you through everything you need to know about credit card processing and taking payments in a secure, compliant way.  Download the FSB guide here.

Data protection and the UK transition: What you need to do

The UK has left the EU and the transition period ended on the 31st of December 2020.  This will affect the movement of goods, services and people to and from the UK, including data.  Read our blog to find out what happens to data security after this date and what can you do to prepare.

How small businesses are preparing for changes to importing and exporting

From 1 January 2021, you will need to change your procedures and complete additional paperwork if you’re a UK business who imports from, or exports to Europe.  We speak to two FSB members about the changes they are making now ahead of January 2021.  Read more here.


This exclusive podcast, brought to you in partnership between payments specialists SumUp and First Voice, will explore COVID-19 and cashless payments and how small businesses can adapt.

In this episode, Jon Watkins is joined by special guest, Alex von Schirmeister, in charge of SumUp's international expansion and business development, who tells us how cashless payments have helped retailers and other traders cope with the restrictions.

The discussion will focus on the current situation with payment amounts and look at how this has changed during the pandemic - providing valuable advice on successful implementations that help businesses gain a competitive advantage.

Click here to listen.

Want to listen on Spotify, Apple Music or another Podcast platform?

We're available on . . .


Feeling the Winter Blues?

Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is important all year round, but shorter days and darker nights after the festive period can be challenging, leaving many of us feeling the winter blues.

Download our free guide, written by Alison Simmons, Senior Mental Health Nurse at FSB Care, to learn practical tips for lifting your mood in the winter months, and find out what to do if you need more support.

We're here for you!

While many of us suffer from lower mood and more fatigue in the winter months, the shortage of daylight can cause significant problems for some people. Nearly a third of adults experience some symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) at this time of year, from low energy levels to anxiety.

If you feel like you’re suffering from symptoms of SAD, other mental health issues or simply want to talk to someone, we’re here to listen. Visit the FSB Care hub to find out how we can help you.


Start the new year as you mean to go on with FSB Cyber Protection’s checklist for keeping your small business safe in the digital world.

A new year is a perfect time to form habits and set goals for the year ahead.  Whilst you might be exercising or taking up a new hobby, why not make some digital resolutions for your business in 2021 to protect yourself against cyber-attacks and online fraud?

Taking the time to complete these simple actions will protect your business year-round from the most common online threats and could potentially save you thousands of pounds and hours of frustration.

Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cyber-crime has stated that one in four small businesses are affected by fraud every year, with costs estimated at £18.9 billion across all sectors.

In 2021 I will:

  • Passwords
    • Ensure all my passwords are unique and complex.
    • Use two-factor authentication on all accounts where possible.
    • Consider using a password manager to store complex passwords.
  • Antivirus
    • Install reputable antivirus software and ensure it is kept updated.
    • Schedule regular scans with antivirus software and automate where possible.
    • Not ignore any messages my antivirus software generates.
  • Software
    • Keep all software and operating systems up to date with regular patching.
    • Consider upgrading devices and software which no longer receive security updates and are end of life.
    • Consider uninstalling software which I no longer require as this can help threat actors gain a foothold onto your systems.
    • Stick to only installing software from reputable vendors where possible and research any other software prior to installation.
  • Web Browsing
    • Avoid unfamiliar websites where possible.
    • Ensure websites are using HTTPS when transferring sensitive information (a padlock will appear before the URL).
    • Consider installing an ad blocker as advertisements/popups can be used to deliver malware.
  • Wi-Fi
    • Ensure my Wi-Fi networks are password protected with WPA2 encryption or stronger.
    • Avoid using public/communal Wi-Fi where possible and avoid using it for the transmission of sensitive data (such as login/banking information) at all costs.
    • Use VPN’s to connect to your business whenever possible as it encrypts your connection.
  • Backup
    • Make regular backups of all important files and computers.
    • Try to have more than one backup available and attempt to store at least one of them off-site.
    • Ensure all backups are stored securely both physically (in locked storage) and digitally (password protected and/or encrypted).
    • Test that my backups work by performing a dry run of using them to restore data. All too often this is not tested and when backups do need to be restored, the process does not work correctly.
  • Devices
    • Ensure all computers and mobile devices are password protected and encrypted where possible.
    • Lock devices when not in use and not leave devices unattended in untrusted locations.
    • Avoid inserting unverified removable media (CDs/DVDs/USB Drives) into devices.
    • Strictly control the usage of USB drives and block unless essential.

Where can I find more advice?

In addition to following industry-standard tips and advice on securing your business, such as cyber policies and cyber insurance, it’s also important to keep up to date with new scams and threats.
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and Action Fraud’s websites offer resources and guidance for small businesses. NCSC has a handy guide to help protect your business, or you can take the Cyber Essentials certification.

Got a question?

FSB members can call our team of cyber experts from FSB Cyber Protection with any questions, or if you need support with an ongoing incident.  We provide jargon-free, actionable advice on how to protect you and your business.


  • Brexit Support Week: a new beginning with Euro Chambers - This session will take part with the major European Chambers to highlight the importance of UK-European trade beyond Brexit, the opportunities and support available for UK business exporting to Europe.
  • Brexit Support Week: impact of Brexit on tax handling - This webinar will focus on tax changes, and how business can prepare. Value Added Tax (VAT) is a tax levied at each level of production, but as the UK will leave the “EU VAT Area”, the UK could gain more flexibility on the structure of VAT after Brexit.
  • Brexit Support Week: managing financial and currency risk - Brexit, COVID, the US Elections and other global pressures will impact the value and power of our currency- so how can we ensure we are getting a good deal when trading with clients overseas? Join this panel session with experts from the finance and currency sector, as they explore the current impact on currency, what to look out for in the coming months, and how to manage your risks through Brexit and beyond.
  • Brexit Support Week: the future of migration and business travel - Leaving the EU’s “Single Market” will mean leaving the Free Movement of People to and from Europe. The UK has already announced a plan to introduce a “point-based” migration system, and business travel may require visas in 2021.
  • Brexit Support Week: protecting intellectual property overseas - Intellectual Property (IP) is crucial when trading overseas as it fosters innovation, protects your product and helps access new markets and consumers, such as Copyright, Trademarks and Patents. Brexit will impact the protection and regulation for your business, as the UK is set to leave certain European conventions on IP protection, but there are steps business can take to be better prepare for 1st January 2021.
  • Brexit Support Week: how to manage data - This workshop will focus on the handling & management of data, as well as the implications for getting it wrong. In 2018, the UK introduced the EU GDPR rules, regulating and protecting data, the UK aims to replicate this with UKDP, but there will be added challenges to housing and moving data overseas in 2021.
  • Brexit Support Week: the future of industry standards and UK and CE / CA marking - Leaving the UK will not only change how we move goods post-Brexit, but how we monitor and regulate those goods. There has been much interest in the future of the UK’s membership of chemical regulatory authority REACH, but also cover the new UKCA marking and what you will need to do to place certain goods on market from 1st January 2021.
  • Brexit Support Week: maintaining and building relationships with European partners - Brexit will fundamentally change how we work with our customers, suppliers and partners in Europe. Communication and understanding will be crucial in ensuring a smooth transition from now into the new. This session will look at how to maintain and build relationships with those in our supply chains and overseas, calling upon the implications for getting it wrong and how to avoid complications down the line. Slides from this webinar can be found here.
  • Brexit Support Week: the view from Europe - It takes two to tango, and this session will feature your Chamber in Brussels for their on the ground insight to negotiations, the path ahead, and the view from Europe. Brussels is the heart of the EU, and with a special working group examining the UK-EU future relationship, the British Chamber there are in a great position to share what's going on, for the benefit of our members. We will also be joined by Dr. He Zhang, Senior Lecturer in Economics from Teesside University Business School.
  • Brexit Support Week: making a success of a new global environment - As a result of Brexit, the United Kingdom will be striking out as its own independent “Global Britain”, which will bring opportunities and challenges beyond our trade with Europe. This session will hear about the support, resources and opportunities at home and abroad to make your business a success through Brexit.
  • Brexit Support Week: State of Play - While we don’t yet have full answers, there are still steps business can take to mitigate against, understand and thrive through the challenges ahead. This webinar is part of the Chamber’s “Brexit Week”, teaming up with regional experts and specialists to support your Brexit preparations. The opening session for the Chamber’s Brexit week. This elite panel will provide an update on what we know about Brexit, where we are heading and what are the gaps in the current process.

For a full list of webinars, please click here.


At Spending Review 2020, the government [on Wednesday, 25th November] announced a number of measures to support smaller businesses, to be delivered by the British Business Bank.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief Executive, British Business Bank, said: “The Chancellor has confirmed the British Business Bank’s budgets for 2021/22, as well as announcing expansion in some areas.  This package enables us to build on our work to date, including in response to Covid-19, so that we can continue to support smaller businesses in the UK and build the foundations for the recovery.”

The announcements include:

Ongoing Activities

The government has confirmed that throughout 2021/22 it will continue to provide the British Business Bank with the resources to help make finance markets work better for smaller businesses across the UK, so that they can prosper and grow.

Covid-19 Support Schemes

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic the British Business Bank has delivered three loan guarantee schemes, providing close to 1.5 million businesses across the UK with over £65 billion of support.  The British Business Bank has also launched the Future Fund, helping nearly 900 early stage growth businesses that otherwise would not have been able to access the finance they needed.  These programmes form an important part of the government’s economic response to the pandemic, and we welcome confirmation that funding for the appropriate people, structures, systems and processes to effectively manage the support we have deployed will continue to be in place.

Start Up Loans

We welcome the government’s announcement that it will increase funding for the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme so that it can provide 1,000 more loans in 2021/22 than were originally funded in the March 2020 Budget.  Even more business owners across the UK will now be able to access the finance they need to start a business.

Record numbers of potential business owners have accessed the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme during the Covid-19 pandemic, and this expanded funding will allow the programme to play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery.

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Since its launch in 2017, the £400m Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund has benefited more than 700 smaller businesses across the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber and Tees Valley regions, increasing employment, skills, turnover and investment for recipient businesses.  More recently, the Fund’s activity has helped support businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The government recognises the success of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and is providing the Fund with sufficient resources to commit an additional £100m in 2021/22.

Financing High-Growth Firms

Since the 2017 Patient Capital Review, the British Business Bank has provided substantial support for innovative, high-growth businesses seeking access to long-term growth capital.  Innovative businesses are essential to driving increased productivity across the UK, and we are pleased that the government has provided the Bank with the resources to commit an additional £100 million to innovation and growth finance in 2021/22, as well as a further £70 million for the National Security Strategic Investment Fund.

We will continue to work closely with HM Treasury, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and UKGI to deliver on the Spending Review announcements over the coming year.

Shaun Fooy, Senior Manager, UK Network, North East England.


Now that the Brexit transition period has ended and a trade deal has finally been struck with the EU, what does it all mean for the UK’s small businesses?

Join FSB Head of International Affairs James Sibley for this exclusive First Voice podcast, in which he will set out exactly what the new deal means for small businesses, for your supply chains, for doing business with other countries and for exporting to Europe - as well as much more.

Find out all you need to know about what the Brexit deal means for you, as well as the steps you need to take to continue trading, by listening to the exclusive podcast now.

Please click here to listen.

Want to listen on Spotify, Apple Music or another Podcast platform?

We're available on. . . .


You might not be aware of “UK Export Finance” (UKEF) which can help you with funding for exporting and overseas projects (see here) and also the information below which includes a number of links.  If any of this is of interest to you please let Paul Sparks know and he will put you in contact with the North East representative for a free chat.

The “trade finance” support is exclusively for businesses with a turnover of £6m or more.  Whereas “export insurance” can be companies of any size, (it’s the buyers finances & trading history that is crucial).

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, working alongside Department for International Trade.

Having finance and insurance backing from HM Government through UKEF gives you the edge you need to win and fulfil contracts and withstand risk of non-payment in international markets. UKEF supports exporters to:

  • access export finance
  • manage payment risks
  • win export contracts by offering competitive terms to buyers. UKEF works with banks and other financial institutions to support exports for any size of company and across all sectors, from capital goods to services and intangibles such as intellectual property.

Access export finance

If the terms of a contract require a bond, such as performance guarantees or advance payment guarantees, UKEF’s Bond Support Scheme can guarantee a UK exporter’s bank up to 80% of the bond’s value, significantly reducing the size of the deposit needed.

UKEF’s Export Working Capital Scheme can partially guarantee to cover the credit risks for lenders associated with export working capital facilities.  This means UK companies can export if they win a contract higher in value than usual, or win more overseas contracts than usual.

UK suppliers to exporters can now also access UKEF financing, further spreading the benefits of trade.  Becoming part of an export supply chain can help smaller companies get their products and services into new markets.

Managing payment risks

UKEF helps exporters manage the uncertainties of trading overseas.  Export insurance is readily available in most cases from the commercial sector but securing the right cover can be a challenge in some markets.

UKEF’s Export Insurance Policy extends to cover exporters who are unable to uphold the contract for reasons beyond their control, such as country risk or issues within a supply chain.

Offering competitive terms to buyers

UKEF helps exporters win contracts by providing attractive financing for overseas buyers, either in the form of guarantees on commercial loans or by lending to them directly.  This competitive, long-term financing is particularly relevant to buyers in new and emerging markets, but is also used for larger and longer-term projects that the private sector does not have the capacity to support.  UKEF can offer support in over 60 pre-approved local currencies, enabling more overseas buyers to buy from the UK and pay in their own currency.


Help us shape the support available for the North East Defence & Security Sector to grow Overseas!

DIT North East are delighted to announce the newly appointed Defence & Security Lead for the region, Scott Duncan.  Scott will be leading on a project on behalf of DIT to develop a sector plan for the North East to identify the companies that operate in the Defence & Security sector, our regional capabilities and propensity to export our products and services.  All of which will inform DIT’s strategic thinking to identify international trade support that we can provide you in the future.

As part of this activity, we would like your input in shaping the support we might offer North East businesses in the Defence & Security Sector to grow overseas in the future.  Please spare no longer than five minutes to complete this short survey.  Your response, alongside the opportunity for more in-depth discussion via a follow up appointment with Scott, will be critical in informing and
shaping our sector plan.

Click here to complete the survey.


The UK has now left the EU and there are new rules for moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

From the 1st of January 2021, all businesses need to submit digital import declarations as well as safety and security declarations for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.  The declarations can be submitted by using the Trader Support Service, which is free-to-use, live and ready to support you with the changes to Northern Ireland trade.

It’s important that you act, joining thousands of companies that have already registered.

Your firm will also need an XI-prefixed EORI number (a unique ID code used to track and register customs information within the EU) to continue moving those goods between GB and NI, unless you already have an EU-prefixed EORI number.

The Trader Support Service is here to help you prepare, and is free.

Register now to take advantage of its benefits:

  • The TSS digital portal enables you to:
  • Access to the TSS contact centre for help with any registration queries and for support in making declarations
  • Help with obtaining an XI-prefixed EORI number
    • If you register for TSS by 14 December 2020 and enter your GB-prefixed EORI number, you will be automatically sent an XI-prefixed EORI, saving you time and effort.

Register for the Trader Support Service to ensure your firm is prepared to continue moving goods from the 1st of January 2021.


The UK has now left the EU single market and customs union.  Whilst many aspects of Brexit are still unknown there are some things that will happen whatever the final outcome of the negotiations.  We’ve attached some guides to help you with this, every business will be affected in some way, even if it is just the way you store and process customer details etc.

The central point of information for all official government announcements and guides is

As well as DIT there are other government departments providing information to help with the transition.  The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have produced a range of webinars, access these live and on demand, scroll down the page after opening the page.

North East England Chamber of Commerce (NEECC) – Brexit Support Week starting 16th Nov, see this and other events here.

The North East Growth Hub has some great resources here.

DIT are getting a range of questions on how the end of the transition period will affect them, if you have any specific concerns about the end of the transition period please send email us and we will try to get you an answer or point you in the right direction.


The Department for International Trade has added many new events, both recorded and future events, including trade missions, webinars, etc. some are region specific and others available to businesses across whole of UK, please see and keep checking this as new events added all the time.


Please see on the left the PDF which provides updated guidance on overseas business travel following Brexit, such as new visa systems, work permits etc and also updated guidance on Recognition of Professional Qualifications which you might need to get officially recognised in order to continue to provide services in EU or EFTA countries.


The transition period ended on the 31st of December 2020.

The rules for trading with the EU and other countries changed on the 1st of January 2021.

Find out what tariffs you will be trading under
DIT launched a new tariff look-up tool to enable traders to easily find the future tariffs that will apply from the 1st of January 2021.

Visit GOV.UK to find out what tariffs you will be trading under from January 2021.

Find a commodity code
Visit GOV.UK to find your 10-digit commodity code to classify your goods and look up duty rates, reliefs and quotas.

Trade agreements from January 2021
In under two years the UK has agreed trade deals with 58 countries that account for £198bn of UK bilateral trade.

To check if the UK has negotiated a trade agreement with the country you trade with and what this means for you, visit GOV.UK.

Trade agreements that won’t be in effect by 1 January 2021
There are some trade agreements we have signed that we do not expect to be fully in effect from the 1st of January 2021.  Visit GOV.UK to read the latest guidance and find out what arrangements are in place.

With some negotiations more time is needed before a mutually beneficial trade agreement can be reached.  Where this is the case, the UK Government has put in place the UK Global Tariff for imports, trade with other World Trade Organisation (WTO) members will take place on WTO terms, and trade with eligible developing countries will take place under the UK’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).

Open General Export Licence
From January 2021, traders will need an export licence issued by the UK to export dual-use items from Great Britain to the EU or Channel Islands.

Read the guidance for exporting controlled goods from 1 January 2021

You can register now for an Open General Export Licence through SPIRE, the online export licensing system.

What else can I do to prepare for the end of the transition period?

If you have any questions about preparing for the end of the transition period and you can’t find answers at GOV.UK/transition, fill out the enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.

If you do not act now you will not be able to trade with the EU and other countries from the 1st of January 2021.


With the UK now an independent trading nation, DIT has online tools and resources which are the go-to source of information for all businesses who trade internationally.

They are also a great starting place for businesses looking to seize new global trading opportunities.

Exporting goods from the UK

If you export goods out of the UK, visit the Check How to Export Goods online tool to find information on UK borders, and duties and customs procedures for over 160 markets around the world.

To export dual-use controlled items from the UK you must have a licence issued by the UK, except if you are exporting from Northern Ireland to the EU or Channel Islands.  Find out if your items need a licence. 

Check which tariffs apply to imports into the UK

Use the tariff look-up tool to find the tariff information you need, including commodity codes, duty and VAT rates.

Where to find more information

If you have any questions about the new trading rules and can’t find answers online, fill out an enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.


We have now left the EU single market and customs union and new trading rules apply.

Regardless of the outcome from negotiations with the EU, there are guaranteed changes and opportunities which businesses need to prepare for - including changes to the way you import and export goods with the EU and the process for hiring people from the EU.

To help you prepare, here are 4 things you should do:

  1. Visit GOV.UK/transition to take a short survey and receive a personalised list of actions that you and your business needs to take.
  2. Sign-up to webinars hosted by DITBEISHMRC and Defra to learn more about the actions you can take to ensure your business is prepared for the 1st January 2021. There are also recordings of sector-specific webinars.
  3. If you trade internationally, find out what you need to do to continue exporting goods to the EU and/or continue importing goods from the EU from the 1st January 2021.
  4. Sign up to email alerts to stay up to date with any further changes.

If you have any questions about preparing for the end of the Brexit transition period and you can’t find answers at GOV.UK/transition, fill out the enquiry form and one of our experts will point you in the right direction.

If you trade with countries outside of the EU, information is also available on the steps you need to take when importing and exporting goods.


From the latest coronavirus funding schemes to how you can show your support for small businesses this festive season, catch up with our newest resources designed to support you.  Learn the must-know terms for the UK transition and stay safe with tips for risk management.

Don’t forget to visit our coronavirus hub for the latest news and support.

The UK transition: key terms - The UK transition brings new ways of doing business as well as a new set of terminology to master.  Check out our blog to review the terms you need to know.

Funding sources for businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic - Check out our updated guide to the national grants and schemes available to small businesses and the self-employed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

10 ways you can improve risk management - Find out how to minimise the top 10 risks that small businesses face, from slips and trips to fires and burglary.

Shop small and make a big difference - Celebrate your local, independent businesses this festive season and show your support through our #ilovesmallbusiness campaign.


At DIT we provide extensive advice and information but following Brexit we appreciate that at times you may need more in-depth expertise from an expert, such as an accountant for specific EU VAT issues or freight specialists for complex customs processing.  We have therefore sourced funding to provide fully funded consultations with external experts to support trade with your EU clients.

Places are limited, see the attached document and register here - this will run until Friday, 7th May.

This is to be used when DIT haven’t been able to fully answer your query, or you have complex issues trading with the EU which need this kind of specialist support. The following expertise - please see the attachment - will be available.


The UK has now left the EU, and the Brexit transition period has come to an end.  Take action to get ready for new rules from the 1st of January 2021.  This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for businesses.   All information on the UK Transition can be found at


Country specific guidance on providing services and travelling for businesses from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated for the following countries:

Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Switzerland (an overview of the UK-Switzerland Services Mobility Agreement can be viewed here), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Austria & Denmark.


The UK has signed the UK-North Macedonia agreement, for information on this and existing UK trade agreements with non-EU countries, click here.


  • New - EU businesses: taxes and tariffs: Guidance has been issued covering what taxes and tariffs EU businesses might need to pay when trading with the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - EU businesses exporting to the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to find out what they need to do to export to the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - EU businesses importing from the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to inform them of what they need to do to import from the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - The Trader Support Service (TSS): You can continue to sign up to TSS if you move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. For more information, and to sign up, click here.
  • Updated - Check when you can account for import VAT on your VAT return: Guidance for VAT registered business has been updated with information on Non-established taxable persons and guidance on how to complete your declaration if you are accounting for import VAT on your VAT return. For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Kent traffic management on M20 motorway to Dover and Eurotunnel: Guidance has been updated to include further detail about Operation Brock - the traffic management system designed to keep Kent’s roads open in the event of disruption at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Importing and exporting live fish and shellfish from January 2021: Guidance for importers and exporters of live fish, molluscs and crustaceans for farming, ornamental, or any other purpose except direct human consumption, has been updated, including updates on movements to Northern Ireland.  For more information, click here.
  • Updated - Exporting or Importing objects of cultural interest from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been updated to include exporting objects of cultural interest from Northern Ireland from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
  • New - UK-Japan CEPA: Data protection: Information about data protection in the UK-Japan CEPA is available here.


  • Business Services
    • New - EU businesses providing services to the UK: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to find out what they need to know about providing services in the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Guidance for UK businesses providing services to Ireland from the 1st January 2021: Guidance has been updated for UK businesses on rules for trading in services with Ireland from the 1st of January 2021 to include information on the recognition of professional qualifications.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Selling services to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for UK businesses offering services from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated with guidance for social security payments for employees.  For more information, click here.
  • Date & Intellectual Property
    • New - Data protection and copyright for EU businesses: Guidance has been issued for EU businesses to inform them of what they need to do with data protection, intellectual property and copyright in the UK from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - EU trademark protection and comparable UK trade marks from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for businesses and organisations holding EU trade marks at the end of the Transition Period has been updated to replace the section on pending cancellation actions.  For more information, click here.
  • Designated Standards
    • New - Designated standards: Information has been issued for businesses about designated standards at the end of the Transition Period.  For more information, click here.
  • Chemicals
    • Updated - Letter to the chemical’s sector: The Business Secretary’s letter to the chemicals sector has been updated to reflect that chemicals regulatory obligations affect both new chemicals and existing chemicals already on the market. To view this in full, click here.
    • Updated – Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on how manufacturers and importers of fertilisers should prepare for changes from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated with further information.  For more information, click here.
  • Life Sciences
    • Guidance - Veterinary Medicines Regulations from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been issued on the UK Veterinary Medicines Regulations from the 1st of January 2021.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Guidance on pharmacovigilance procedures from 1 January 2021: Guidance has been updated to provide further information about country codes and worldwide case IDs which should be used when submitting and receiving ICSRs.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated – Guidance on converting Centrally Authorised Products (CAPs) to UK Marketing Authorisations (MAs) from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on ‘grandfathering’ and managing the lifecycle of medicinal products has been updated to include additional potential scenarios and clarify possible options available to applicants in relation to the processing and determination by the MHRA of pending Type IB and II variations at the time of the baseline submission.  For more information, click here.
  • Waste
    • Updated – Importing and exporting waste from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance about what UK waste importers and exporters must do to notify about waste shipments from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated.  Changes include new details on waste shipments from GB to Northern Ireland with Northern Ireland protocol context.  For more information about the updates, click here
  • Food & Drink
    • New - Poultrymeat Importing after the 31st of December 2020: A notice has been published to detail information regarding poultrymeat import quotas and information on licenses after the 31st of December 2020.  For more information, click here.
    • New - Pigmeat Importing after the 31st December of 2020: A notice has been published to detail information regarding pigmeat import quotas and information on licenses after the 31st of December 2020.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Exporting wild caught marine fishery products to the EU from the 1st of January 2021: The ‘One Stop Shop’ guidance document for fishing and seafood businesses has ben updated. To view this, click here.
    • Updated - Hops and hops products marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance for hops producers, manufacturers, retailer and distributors has been updated in respect of blends of hops and hops products, and exporting hops and hop products from Great Britain to the EU.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Beef and veal marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been added on moving between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the EU.  Guidance on Exporting beef and veal from Great Britain (GB) to the EU, importing beef and veal from the EU to GB and moving beef and veal from GB to NI has also been updated.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Poultry meat marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance has been updated with respect of exporting poultry meat from GB to the EU, moving poultry meat from GB to NI, getting poultry meat optional indication certificates, importing poultry meat from EU to GB and importing poultry meat from non-EI countries to GB.  For more information, click here.
    • Updated - Egg marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021: Guidance on hatching eggs and chicks marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021 has been updated along with guidance on Egg marketing standards from the 1st of January 2021.
    • Updated - Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS): Guidance on IPAFFS has been updated to show when importers can use IPAFFS to import their type of goods.  For more information, click here.


With just a few days to go until the end of the transition period, you can keep up to date by attending live webinars to help prepare your business.  You can also access sector-specific webinars about how to prepare your business here.

  • HMRC customs declarations webinars: HMRC have launched multiple editions of this live webinar covering how to complete customs import declarations and explaining how to make import declarations when importing goods between the EU and Great Britain.  Find a date and to register, click here.

Trading with the EU: A video series has been released that explains what businesses need to do to be ready for the 1st of January 2021.  These videos cover what businesses need to know about exports and imports, customs, commodity codes and controlled goods. To view the videos, click here.

Visit the GOV.UK transition webinar page to find out more and register here.

Podcast: Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021 - The Home Office has created a podcast episode in partnership with Intelligence Squared to help you prepare for the points-based immigration system.  Listen now to Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021.  Also available on Spotify and Apple.


Since 1st January, if you are based in the UK and VAT registered you should not charge any UK VAT to overseas clients.  They can’t now claim it back in their own country and the agreement we had for cross border VAT has ended.  If you use shopify you should adjust the setting that automatically add VAT to orders.  This will then start to show UK buyers the cost without VAT, the VAT rate and the total including VAT, and EU and rest of the world will see without the VAT.  This is the most basic change, there are other options detailed below.

The UK/EU deal has left a difficult situation for online sellers.  Part of the deal doesn’t start until July, so we are in a temporary phase for selling to the EU.  From 1st July 2021, this is set to be simplified with a new UK E-Commerce Directive and for goods up to 150 Euro the EU are introducing a “One Stop Shop” (OSS) which allows companies to register in 1 country and account for all their EU VAT in that one country.

There is an excellent guide from “Avalara”:

Four choices for your EU VAT and customs

Below are four options for sellers.  Remember, any marketplace you are using may restrict these choices to secure their own customers’ best experience - see option 4.  A further issue is where to clear the goods into the EU if you chose importer of record in the below options.  This is covered after this Options section.

1. Make your EU customer the importer of the record

  • Options after Brexit - Your EU customers will have to pay the freight delivery company the import VAT.
  • Pros and cons - This is the easy option for you, the seller. But means an awful seller experience and probably no repeat business. You may have to accept the goods back at extra costs and lost income. Many EU customers will spot that you are intending to do this and just shop elsewhere.

2. You clear the goods into the EU at sale

  • Options after Brexit - You will have to VAT register in the EU country of your customer. Remember - there are no more distance selling thresholds after Brexit.  You then pay the import VAT to clear the goods into the country (see comments below on country choice).  You then sell the goods to your customer at the local VAT rate.  You then offset the import VAT and sales VAT in the foreign VAT return.  You’ll also have to make a customs declaration and pay any tariffs. But your freight forwarder can help with that.
  • Pros and cons - This is a much better and seamless customer experience. This effectively reinstates the uninterrupted flow of goods that existed before Brexit. However, you will have customs and VAT compliance costs to worry about. But the good news is most EU countries have good deferred import VAT schemes, called Postponed Accounting. These let you avoid the cash payment of EU import VAT.

3. EU customer clears but you pay import VAT any tariffs

  • Options after Brexit - A mix of 1. and 2.  Legally, you make your customer the importer of record.  But you pay any  and import VAT via the freight forwarder.  This is sometimes called 'DDP with agent' or 'Buyers Agent'.
  • Pros and cons - This brings the good experience of 2 - your customer doesn’t have to worry about settling VAT.  Plus, like 1., you don’t have to bother getting VAT registered and doing filings.  But you will need to obtain a Power of Attorney from your seller, which adds to the checkout process time.  If you don’t want to lose the VAT you’ve paid, you’ll need to manage the VAT recovery process - which is now paper-based and very unreliable.  Also, the EU is reforming ecommerce in July 2021, and may limit this option in some EU states.

4. Hold cleared goods somewhere in EU

  • Options after Brexit - You ship and clear some of your popular goods into the EU, and hold in rented warehouse space as a fulfilment centre for your EU sales.
    If you are using a marketplace, they will likely insist you do this anyway to avoid being blocked.
  • Pros and cons - This involves an immediate inconvenience and cost of having to ship large quantities of stocks, and holding them in the EU. But, after that, it’s all very much as today in terms of VAT - and you don’t have to complete customs declarations (as you would in 2.) each time you make a sale.  You will still need foreign VAT registrations – certainly in the country where you hold the stocks.  And then in the other countries but only when you pass the distance selling thresholds.  But you can avoid the cashflow hassle of import VAT via Postponed Accounting (see above).
    Again, the EU will make this simpler from July 2021 with a single EU OSS VAT return.

Which EU country to clear the goods - avoid the import VAT cash trap!

If you chose 3. or 4. above, and you will clear the goods into the EU, you will face a further decision on where to clear the goods.

Countries like the Netherlands and Belgium offer very good VAT schemes - in addition to excellent transport links - if you clear your EU goods there.  You don’t have to pay import VAT.  Many freight forwarders will offer a good package around this.

Instead, you may decide to import into France (Dover ferry; Eurotunnel) but chose to move the goods to another EU country before you clear them for import VAT and customs.  Whilst an option, this creates more paperwork and means the VAT treatment is less favourable.  For example you may have lots of German customers, but it does not offer a Postponed Accounting regime.  So you will have to may import VAT.

See the full article here.

The option you choose will be dependent on the size of your business, products you sell etc. so review options carefully, if you are a small business you might be fine with the first option as long as you inform your overseas buyers upfront that they need to pay import VAT (but not UK sales VAT) if you simply ship the goods without telling them you are likely to get issues.

UK sellers used to trade under “Distance Selling Thresholds” your buyers will likely be aware of these which included selling to the EU and account for VAT in UK, until sales reached a certain limit (it varied country by country but was between 35,000 and 100,000 Euro.  When sales reached that level they had to register for taxes in the country of sale) Those rules no longer apply and now customs declaration and import Vat will apply.

For further information on VAT, please see "Businesses selling goods in the UK using online marketplaces - Find out your VAT obligations if you use an online marketplace to sell goods in the UK".


To help employers prepare for the points-based immigration system, the Home Office has created a podcast episode in partnership with Intelligence Squared.  The discussion covers what you need to know if you are thinking of hiring anyone from outside the UK from 1 January 2021.

Listen now to Business and the Future of Immigration in 2021.

Also available on Spotify and Apple.


COVID-19 funding support

The new lockdown in England means that many more businesses are facing restrictions on trade in addition to those affected by the previous Tier 4 and Tier 3 measures that were in place.

To support businesses through the new national lockdown, additional funding support has been made available:

  • Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000 per property
  • A £594 million discretionary fund will provide additional support to businesses not eligible for the new one-off grant.  If this is you, you can apply to the fund via your Local Authority.

There is a range of financial support packages available for businesses impacted by the pandemic. To find out what support is available for your business, visit  Government's business support finder.

EU Exit Update

The transition period has ended and the UK has left the EU customs union and single market and has now moved to a zero tariffs, zero quotas relationship with the EU as an independent trading nation. 

Following the signing of the UK-EU Free Trade Agreement, there are new rules for businesses which came into force on the 1st of January 2021 which require immediate action.  Your business needs to act now to comply with these new rules. 

You should visit where you can use the checker tool to quickly identify the actions that your business needs to take.  The checker tool will ask you questions about your business and provide all the information you need to be aware of such as new rules on:

You can help your businesses adjust to the new rules by using a number of support mechanisms provided by the government:

  • Sign up to receive updates on the specific actions you need to take once you've used the checker tool at
  • Sign up to receive the regular Business Readiness Transition Bulletin - an email newsletter providing information on major announcements and recently published guidance

BEIS webinars across a range of topics will be available on this month. They will provide specific advice on how businesses can ensure they comply with the new rules.

High Potential Startups cohort five now open

Despite the challenging times, we've seen some fantastic new business ventures and we are continuing to support founders help turn their ideas into reality.

If you have an idea for a high growth business that could reach a turnover of £1m in the next three years and create more and better jobs in the North East - we want to hear from you.

Expressions of Interest are now being invited for the fifth round of the North East Growth Hub's popular High Potential Startups programme.

High Potential Startups helps entrepreneurs bring their business idea to life - bigger and better than they can alone.

If you're accepted onto the programme you'll receive a comprehensive and holistic package of support, including one to one coaching, access to a series of immersive workshops, and guidance on accessing finance and finding co-founders.

If you have the drive and ambition to start and grow your own business in the North East, complete the Expression of Interest form today.  Find out more and apply here.

Digital Boost

Now, more than ever, we are relying on digital to stay connected and manage new ways of working, as many businesses around the country continue to work from home.

Digital Boost is a non-profit online platform that brings together those who work in small businesses and charities with a community of digital expert volunteers drawn from larger businesses who have had years of training in digital techniques.

Digital Boost are here to help charities and small businesses get the essential digital skills they need.  This is done by matching organisations in need with digital experts to offer one to one conversations and practical webinars for free.  They provide three Digital Boost services to help equip your organisation with essential skills:

  • Mentoring Calls - speak one on one with a digital expert, who’ll provide you with practical help and advice in only 60 minutes.
  • Webinars and Workshops - there are many interactive masterclasses on SEO, Facebook Ads, payment systems and more to help your business.
  • Resource Library - learn at your own pace with access to their comprehensive library of learning content from articles to online courses.

Co-founded by Founders4Schools and BCG Digital Ventures and supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Google, Digital Boost aims to help rebuild our economy by helping those who work for small businesses and charities access digital expertise so they get through the COVID-19 crisis, and stay competitive in today's digital world.  Learn more here.

Customs Grant Schemes

New rules now apply to business moving goods between the EU and UK, including import controls on EU goods at the border.  As a result, HMRC is investing funding to find employee training and IT improvements for customs intermediaries, traders and hauliers that make customs declarations.  Click here for further information.

Business Continuity and Resilience

Newcastle City Council's Resilience Planning team can offer your organisation support and advice on how to make your business more resilient and help you be prepared against the impact of disruption, ensuring continuity of critical functions and effective recovery.  Click here for further information.

Customs Grant Schemes - New rules now apply to businesses moving goods between the EU and UK, including import controls on EU goods at the border.  As a result, HMRC is investing funding to find employee training and IT improvements for customs intermediaries, traders and hauliers that make customs declarations.  Read more here.

Business Continuity and Business Resilience - Newcastle City Council's Resilience Planning team can offer organisations support and advice on how to make their business more resilient and help them be prepared against the impact of disruption, ensuring continuity of critical functions and effective recovery.  Read more here.


The UK has left the EU.  The transition period ended on the 31st December this year and the UK left the single market and customs union.  Businesses should take action now.

Here’s what you need to know if your business imports goods from overseas.

What is the UK Global Tariff (UKGT)?

The UKGT is the UK’s independent ‘Most Favoured Nation’ tariff.  This is a schedule of taxes to be paid on goods imported into the UK from January 2021.  The UKGT will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff.

The UKGT will not apply to goods imported from a country that the UK has a trade deal witha country that is part of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences or where an exception applies.

What should I do next?

  1. Learn more about the UK Global Tarif

  2. Plan ahead by looking up the tariffs you will need to pay using the tariff look up tool.

  3. If you import goods from the EU, learn more about the import process and border controls with the EU from January 2021.

  4. Visit GOV.UK/transition for more information about what you need to do to prepare for the changes coming into effect from January 2021.

You can also find information and advice about trading internationally (outside the EU) here.


For many businesses, the festive season will be a crucial opportunity to build back sales amid uncertainty.  We’re here to support your business to prepare safely, from hiring temporary staff and taking payment online to managing your working capital when buying stock.

How to hire temporary employees and seasonal staff - Find out what you need to know when hiring a temporary employee in your small business, including fixed-term contracts, employee rights and notice periods.  Read the FSB's guide here.

How to effectively manage working capital - Discover how you can keep track of your small business’ cash flow with our tips for effectively managing your finances.  Find our more from the FSB here.

How to protect your business against cyber-attacks - Cyber-attacks pose a significant risk for even the smallest of businesses. Learn how you can protect your business with effective cyber security.  Read more from the FSB here.

What are the benefits of online payments? - As more people get used to browsing from the comfort of their home, learn the benefits of taking online payments securely and efficiently.  Read more here.


The UK has left the EU, and the Brexit transition period has ended.  There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1st January, and you need to take action now.  All information on Brexit can be found at here.  This bulletin is issued by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and provides the latest information for businesses.

NEW £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund

The new £20 million SME Brexit Support Fund offers support to help small businesses adjust to new customs procedures, rules of origin, and VAT rules when trading with the EU. 

SMEs who trade only with the EU, and are therefore new to importing and exporting processes, can apply for grants of up to £2,000, to pay for practical support including training and professional advice to ensure they can continue trading effectively with the EU. 

You can use the grant for training on:

  • how to complete customs declarations
  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin 

It can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements. 

Your business may be eligible if you have up to 500 employees, and no more than £100 million annual turnover. 

Applications for the SME Brexit Support Fund will open soon.  For more information on how you can use the grant, who can apply and how to apply, click here.

Importing and Exporting

NEW: Step-by-Step guides to importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and the EU: There are new rules for importing and exporting goods between Great Britain and countries in the EU.  Whether you’re completing customs declarations yourself or have an intermediary to do it for you, these guides will take you through each step and set out your options.

NEW: DEFRA’s Trader showcase sites for the latest information on exporting and moving goods from GB to the EU and NI: DEFRA's Showcase sites are a one-stop-shop of useful information and documents for traders who export live animals or animal products.

UPDATED: Importing from and re-exporting union goods to the EU Resources such as trader support packs and flowcharts, have been updated to include a new ‘Importing and re-exporting union goods to the EU – Flowchart'. For more information, click here.

UPDATED: Report goods arriving at a UK port on a commercial vessel:  Guidance for the ship’s master or ship’s agent of commercial vessels on reporting goods arriving in at a UK port, has been updated with information about ‘an account of stores held on board’. For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: List of customs agents and fast parcel operators: The list of agents and operators who can help submit customs declarations has been updated. For more information, click here.

Marketing goods

UPDATED: Using the UKCA marking: Guidance has been updated to include further instructions regarding the height of the UKCA marking.  For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: Using the UKNI marking: Guidance has been updated to include further instructions regarding the height of the UKNI marking.  For more information, click here.


UPDATED: UK trade agreements with non-EU countries: The list of trade agreements has been updated to reflect the fully ratified UK-Egypt and UK-Singapore agreements.  For more information, click here.

Business Support Helplines

NEW: Brexit transition helplines: A list of government helplines organised by theme and key actions for businesses has been published.  To view this, click here.

There are new rules for businesses doing business with the EU from 1st January, and you need to take action now.  To help you, a helpline has been set up.  For English businesses, the Business Support Helpline can help you identify the actions you need to take.  Similar helplines are available for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

For more information for:

  • businesses in England, call 0800 998 1098
  • businesses in Scotland, call 0300 303 0660
  • businesses in Wales, call 0300 060 3000
  • businesses in Northern Ireland, call 0800 181 4422.

For more information, including opening hours, click here.

Webinars and Podcasts

  • NEW: The National Cyber Security Centre is running a series of free cyber security webinars and talks aimed at UK businesses of all sizes, educational institutions and charities. For more information, click here.
  • NEW: Exporting goods from Great Britain to the EU via the short straits: A webinar and Q&A session on the issues arising from goods moving from GB to the EU, via the short straits, has been published.  To view these, click here.
  • Video content to keep your business moving: short on-demand videos covering the new rules on exports, imports, tariffs, data and hiring are available to view here.
  • DEFRA are hosting a series of webinars covering importing food and drink, including composite food and fishery products from the EU to Great Britain (GB) from 1 April 2021.  For more information and to register for relevant webinars, click here.
  • Webinars for businesses that trade with the EU: Click here to view a list of webinars you can sign up to watch live or on demand. 

Sector-specific guidance

Emissions Trading

UPDATED: Participating in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme (UK ETS): Guidance explaining who the UK ETS applies to, and what is required of businesses that are covered, has been updated.  Information on auctioning has been updated to include information on the Auction Reserve Price, the Cost Containment Mechanism and the Auctioning Regulations. For more information, click here.  

Fishing & Fisheries

NEW: Scottish seafood taskforce to solve ongoing problems with exports: A new seafood taskforce has been established, drawing together senior political figures, industry representatives and UK Government officials, all working to solve ongoing problems with exports.  For more information, click here.  

UPDATED: How to export wild caught marine fishery products to the EU from 1 January 2021: The latest edition of the ‘One-stop-shop' guidance is now available. For more information, click here.


Government departments are hosting a series of webinars to help businesses understand the support available:


Claim up to £2,000 towards training and advisory services

To help you adapt to new rules for trade with the EU, the IOE&IT has launched a SME Brexit Support Package of training and support, fundable by new government grants.

The government this week announced an additional £20 million available through the SME Brexit Support Fund.  Provided you meet certain eligibility criteria, you can get £2000 funding towards the costs of training and/or professional advice, to help you with changes to trade rules with the EU.

To help you adapt to new rules for trade with the EU, our SME Brexit Support Package is a good place to start.

One of our experts will provide a day's in-house training for your business (via virtual classroom), looking at the specific impacts new rules and regulations could have on your business.  They will create a one-page action plan with you to help ensure you're ready to continue EU trade.

The one-day training will cover the following core topics to help you, as an SME, continue trading:

  • EU:UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)
  • Exporting to the EU
  • Importing from the EU
  • Rules of Origin for duty free trade
  • Incoterms for EU trade
  • Commodity codes
  • Trade and customs documentation
  • Customs procedures
  • Product regulatory compliance
  • Summary and wrap up

Book your support package today.  Our team will help you through the grant application process.

  • £1950 inc. VAT for non-members
  • £1750 inc. VAT for IOE&IT members

The SME Brexit Support Fund can also be used against several of the Institute's one day training courses to ensure key members in your team have the knowledge they need to be able to continue to trade with the EU:

Due to COVID-19, courses are currently being offered through a virtual classroom.  You can view all the courses here.


Do you want to export, but don’t know where to start?

Do you already export, but want to improve your knowledge and skills?

Join the Department for International Trade North East for a free in-depth virtual training programme, worth over £3,000, delivered by international trade specialists, to learn everything you need to know about trading overseas successfully.

This Export Academy is a comprehensive step by step programme ideal for anyone:

  • New to exporting
  • Exporting, but needing to upskill staff
  • Exporting, but wanting to refresh their knowledge or fill gaps

A 10 one-hour step by step sessions, including:

  1. Understanding the benefits of, and barriers to, export - Understand the basics of exporting, the positive impact trading overseas can have on your business and the risks you need to consider.  Discover how to avoid wasting time, resource and costly mistakes.  We'll walk you through the first steps to making informed decisions about internationalisation and how to lay the foundations of an achievable export plan.
  2. Steps to export - In this session we’ll discuss some of the key export procedures including customs and legal documentation, tariffs and classifications, contracts, Incoterms® and international payments.  Discover how to avoid risking delays in your supply chain and possible financial penalties.
  3. International market research - Where do you start when trying to find an international market for your product or service?  This session will take you step by step through the research models you can implement to find the right markets to start selling internationally.  You’ll learn how to find good sources of information and we’ll also discuss how to find and prioritise new opportunities.
  4. Pricing strategy and route to market - In this session we will help you get to grips with how to price your products or services and how to get products to market.  We’ll talk about researching markets, pricing strategies, export costings and more.  We’ll also touch on routes to market; will you sell directly to consumer or will you use an agent or distributer?  Don’t worry, we will cover the pros and cons of each.
  5. Understanding customs - Tariff classification, valuation and origin are core customs procedures and the main pillars for establishing customs duty liability.  In this session you will learn about the Harmonized System (HS) tariff, classifying your goods, origin rules and proving origin and finally valuation for customs.  We’ll also discuss where you can go for help on each of these elements.
  6. Selling services overseas 1 - Exporting can be very beneficial for companies in the service sector.  This two-part session is specifically for services businesses to help you understand the different considerations involved in selling services internationally.  We will cover driving interest and finding opportunities, researching new markets, how you’ll deliver, making your business stand out and other key factors to consider.
  7. International commercial (INCO) terms - The Incoterms® rules are the world's essential terms of trade for the sale of goods.  When you are exporting it’s important to have a good knowledge of these terms.  We will cover why we need them, what they do, what they don’t do and other essentials.
  8. Selling services overseas 2 - Exporting can be very beneficial for companies in the service sector.  This two-part session is specifically for services businesses to help you understand the different considerations involved in selling services internationally.  We will cover driving interest and finding opportunities, researching new markets, how you’ll deliver, making your business stand out and other key factors to consider.
  9. Export controls - There are several reasons why governments aim to control the export of goods, depending on the nature and destinations of the proposed export.  This session will give you an overview of the export licencing process, why governments control exports and which goods are subject to them.  We will also cover military and dual use goods and you’ll find out if your products are affected.
  10. Movement of money - Whether exporting or not, it is important to ensure that you get paid in full and on time.  We will give you an overview of international payment methods, exchange management and using export credit insurance.

Please note this event is only open to registered businesses based in the North East, North West, Yorkshire, the Humber, South West, East Midlands and West Midlands who have a product or service that they are interested in selling internationally.  You may be contacted prior to the event to assess eligibility.

Please click here to register.


DIT North East are delighted to announce a series of virtual events designed to enhance the support businesses receive through the North East Export Academy.  Whether you are currently taking part in the programme or have previously attended a series, these virtual events will provide a greater insight into international trade and the key factors businesses need to consider.

Wednesday 31 March - 14:00-15:00 - How to Enter New Markets and Protect your Intellectual Property.  This webinar will provide practical advice on how to avoid costly delays and mistakes, an overview of the legal regulations involved in entering new markets and how to protect your intellectual property. We will also review the current market conditions due to Brexit and Covid-19.  Click here to register!


Join the Department for International Trade North East for a free in-depth virtual training programme, delivered by digital specialists, to learn everything you need to know about transforming your business’s international digital strategy.

Who’s it for?

The comprehensive step by step programme is ideal for any business selling B2B, who is:

  • New to exporting
  • Exporting, but wanting to enhance their knowledge or fill gaps

To be eligible, SME’s must be based in the North East and have been trading for 12 months or more, with the capacity and resource to expand internationally.

What’s involved?

The programme will begin with a FREE one-to-one consultation with Norma Foster from No Fuss Group Ltd, where you will receive:

  • A detailed review of where you are as a business on your digital journey
  • A benchmark of how your website and digital marketing is working for you
  • A written website effectiveness review
  • Help to set smart goals and an action plan to support you during the coming weeks

At the end of the programme delegates will receive another complimentary one-to-one with Norma Foster, to help you finalise your action plan and start the process of putting all your learning into practice. In order to benefit from the free, follow up appointment, delegates must attend a minimum of three sessions.

Please note: This programme is for companies who sell B2B. For companies who sell B2C, check out our e-Commerce Programme!

Please click here to register.


Virtual Northern Powerhouse FinTech Trade Mission Programme: Australia, Canada and US

The Department for International Trade (DIT), its overseas teams and FinTech North invite companies in the Northern Powerhouse to attend three virtual Northern Powerhouse trade missions to Australia, Canada and the US.  Join us to find out what these markets have to offer for your business, make valuable contacts in local FinTech ecosystems and meet international clients.

What’s on offer?

  • NPH FinTech Mission to the US (April/May TBC) - Join this mission to fast-track your US market entry, with a strategy session, regulatory guide and Meet-the-Client event (eligibility criteria apply).

Register your interest here.


Aims of the programme

The programme is designed to support innovation in the Construction, Health and Elec-Tech sectors.  It runs from 1 January 2021 until 30 June 2023. It is designed to support innovation to transform products, processes and services for the future, and create possibilities to extend, transform, replace and develop entirely new products and markets, growing their supply chains, feeding into improved productivity, employment and wider economic and other benefits for County Durham.  These sectors have been identified as they are areas of strength in County Durham.

Innovation areas have been further identified as strategically important in the LEP Economic Plan for the North East, to grow productivity, employment and new markets.  At government level, AI, The Data Economy, The Future of Mobility, Clean Growth, Ageing Society, and more recently The Green Economy, Net Zero and the Eight Great Enabling Technologies are very important innovation considerations for the future. Innovation may be disruptive, life enhancing and transition society to adapt, in order to meet our future needs in County Durham, and globally.

For further details on this project, please click here.


The Department for International Trade (DIT) invites companies in the Northern Powerhouse to attend series of sector focused webinars followed by a virtual mission to Japan for up to 15 selected companies.

Join us to find out what Japan has to offer for your business, sector specific information will identify how you can benefit from UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).  Companies selected for the virtual mission will make valuable contacts in local Japanese companies and potential clients.

Virtual Mission

We will have the opportunity for 15 companies to take part in a NPH virtual mission to Japan.

Delegates will benefit from:

  • A language and culture workshop to prepare for virtual meetings
  • Production of a company profile to assist in business matching
  • A sector report produced by external consultants
  • Up to five one-to-many meetings with industry sector groups
  • Up to fifteen x one-to-one meetings for delegate companies to meet potential partners/distributors
  • Post virtual mission follow-up support
  • NPH mission delegates will be supported by an experienced International Trade Adviser. 

Register now to find out more on this important market for the UK.


DATES: Tuesday, 25th & Thursday, 27th May 2021 - Part 2: B2B Virtual Meet the Buyer

Over the coming months, the Department for International Trade (DIT) will be hosting a series of events in partnership with our overseas teams to help companies working on the Clean Growth agenda access international markets and grow through export.

Clean growth is not a sector but more a cross-cutting theme, encompassing technologies and approaches across sectors.  All sectors have an important role in responding to the clean growth agenda.

We are pleased to offer Clean Growth businesses the opportunity to join our virtual mission focusing on Chile to explore the demand for your products and services to strengthen Chile’s green economic recovery efforts from COVID-19.

The Northern Powerhouse Virtual Mission activity will be split into two parts:

  • Part 1: Chilean Green Recovery: Opportunities for Northern Powerhouse Businesses took place on Wednesday, 14th April 2021
  • Part 2: B2B Virtual Meet the Buyer: Tuesday, 25th & Thursday, 27th May 2021

For further information and register your interest, please click here.



  • DATE & TIME: Thursday, 22nd April - 17:00-18:00
  • WHERE: Online via Zoom
  • COST: Free to attend.  Register here

Join us for this national webinar along with our panel of speakers where we will examine the key issues affecting all businesses and consumers four months after the transition.

Please note: your unique, one use only joining link/s will be in your booking confirmation email.  You can also access the joining link through your event page here.


If you export to China, or would consider this in future, please see below. This is a full week of events from China Britain Business Council (CBBC) who are DIT’s delivery partner in China.

China has always been seen as one of the more difficult countries to export to, but with many businesses facing issues with exporting to the EU, due to Brexit, we are seeing a big increase in enquiries about China as an alternative market and DIT are providing a lot more support for businesses interested in China.  We have DIT staff based there who can provide on the ground support to you for free, as well as CBBC who provide a lot of other free support and some additional paid services.

Additionally, some of the barriers to trading in China are being lifted, including from 1st May for cosmetics companies, there will be an exception for the current requirement to have products tested on animals, which was a big factor in UK companies not selling into China.

Also, you might not be aware, but I, Paul Sparks, am DIT’s China expert for our region, having previously lived and worked there for 5 years, and I travelled extensively, with many trips back there, having visited most parts of the country.  So if you would like to speak about the potential of China please contact me, thanks.

View the full event programme here.


Introduction to Design Thinking. Target Audience: County Durham SME Newcomers to Design Thinking

DATE & TIME: Thursday, 22nd April - 9:30-12:30

About this FREE Online Event

This event is for County Durham SME Newcomers to Design Thinking, to drive innovation and creativity in their company.

This exciting and successful creative method is for your business if you want to create, transform, improve, diversify, extend your product, process or service.

You will gain knowledge about what companies are achieving through Design Thinking.  This will include the explanation and use of case studies to highlight the beneficial effect of design in business.

You will learn about how to apply methods to ignite your creativity and really get you excited about future opportunities for your business.

Register for the masterclass with a workshop now.  This workshop is part of the Durham Future Innovation Building Programme.


Section ONE: What Design Thinking is.

  • What is Design Thinking and where did it come from
  • Human centred approach
  • Frameworks
  • Phases

Section TWO: Examples of using Design Thinking in practice.

  • Examples of using Design Thinking in practice.
  • Design Thinking and innovation
  • Developing products and services
  • How to integrate Design Thinking in an SME.

Bio Nick Devitt
This event is delivered by a world class design thinking expert with an impressive range of experience in design.  He has been an Associate for the Design Council, designed many new products, transformed services, delivered business design programmes, and worked with many businesses.


DATE: Thursday, 22nd April 2021

The UK Ministry of Justice is delighted to present the UK-Africa Legal Services Spring Conference for UK and African legal professionals.

This event will provide the opportunity to hear from general counsel and discover the latest trends in key sectors from international trade and financial services to extractives and technology.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to connect, collaborate and deepen your network potential.



The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) research has shown that the most innovative and profitable businesses are those with an international footprint, so join us to learn more about the opportunities across the USA and Canada.  Hear from businesses who have worked with DIT and our partners to grow their business in North America, as they share both their successes and challenges.

Conference Highlights:

  • Update on the US-UK Free Trade Agreement
  • The UK Export Finance offer
  • Immigration, banking, accountancy and legal advisory sessions
  • Presentations by DIT North America Sector and Regional leads 

Further details and registration to follow in May 2021. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact:

Sara Eden - - Trade and Investment Associate - +1 (773) 431-6695


DATE & TIME: Friday, 23rd April - 10:30-11:30

WHERE: Online via Zoom


FSB will be running a new series of peer support sessions, each focussing on the needs and issues facing different sectors or business groups.  At this session, we will be discussing the issues facing the health & beauty industry.

We would like to invite you to our peer support sessions, a new concept for 2021 with the aim chiefly to help, inform, advise and assist small businesses in any way we can.  The events, hosted by your local Development Manager, also provide opportunities to network, meet your local FSB team, and access genuine business support in a relaxed setting.

The topic of discussion at this session will be around the difficulties the pandemic has created for the small businesses operating in the tourism and hospitality sectors.

Is your business heavily reliant on the visitor economy?  Do you own a hotel, B&B, or serviced apartments?  Perhaps your restaurant or takeaway services have been impacted, either negatively or positively, by the pandemic?  Join us to discuss your concerns with like-minded business owners, and benefit from tips they can provide based on their experience.

Open to all businesses, both FSB members and non-members are welcome to attend, so feel free to share with your networks.  At each event we will give a short local FSB update, a chance to network with other attendees, access support, or be signposted to someone else who can help if we can't!  Places are limited to so register early to take part.

This is one of many FSB events run across the UK, find all the details here, everyone welcome and they're all free to attend. Be sure to follow @FSBYHNE & @FSBNorthEast on Twitter and @FSBNorthEast on Facebook for regular information to support your business.


Join us for our virtual events, including networking, business surgeries and webinars, designed to help you find advice, support and guidance for your small business during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The events are free and open to all small businesses and the self-employed across the UK.

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, 27th April - 13:00-14:00 - How to build an authentic brand that people want to follow.  When words are not enough on their own. This webinar will explore the value a brand can bring you, your team and your customer relationships.  Register now.

DATE & TIME: Friday, 30th April - 12:00-13:00 - The end of LIBOR: What you need to know.  In this hour long session Tom and Adeshini from the Bank of England will talk about the end of LIBOR and what this change will mean for businesses.  Register now.

DATE & TIME: Tuesday, 4th May - 10:30-12:00 - Scaling up your business model for the future.  This seminar will take you through some simple, interactive steps to help you establish a model that will allow you to sustainably grow your business as we bounce back from COVID-19.  Register now.

DATE & TIME: Thursday, 6th May - 11:00-12:00 - Find customers with Google Maps with FSB and Google Digital Garage.  We're pleased to be partnering with Google Digital Garage to provide a free live training webinar.  Join us to discover how you can use Google Maps to market your business online, reach customers and drive footfall to your business.  Register here.

Check out the other Google Digital Garage events we have coming up by visiting our website.

Let’s stay connected

With our free virtual events, it’s never been easier to connect with your local small business community.

Whether you’re on the go or in the office, join us wherever you are - even from your phone!  Find advice, support and guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic with our upcoming networking events, business surgeries and webinars.  Find out what's on near you.


DATE & TIME: Thursday, 13th May - 11:00-12:00

WHERE: Online via Zoom

COST: Free for FSB members and non-members


Your opportunity to network and effectively develop and grow your business.  Free to attend online networking for all small businesses and the self-employed.

We will meet virtually for about an hour and cover the following: 

  • FSB Download - A brief summary of what the FSB are doing to support you, hosted by Michael Janes, FSB North East Area Leader
  • Speedy Introductions - Your chance to introduce yourself, your business and what you are looking for.
  • Open Q&A - Your chance to bring up topical matters for discussion with all registrants.  An opportunity to connect with all registrants via LinkedIn or other forms of social media.
  • Join us for this new virtual concept of networking from the comfort of your own home via Zoom.

Please note: Your Zoom joining link will be sent in your confirmation email so do not discard this.  The link can also be found in the 'My Events' section on the FSB website. If you have any queries, please contact Harry Harrison.

Non-members are very welcome to attend too, so do forward this email on to anyone in the small business community who would benefit from attending at this crucial time.

This is one of many FSB events run across the UK. And be sure to follow @FSBYHNE, @FSBNorthEast & @FSBTeesValley on Twitter plus @FSBNorthEast on Facebook for regular information to support your business.


DIT North East would like your input in shaping our 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme.

Ahead of the new programme release, we’re asking North East businesses which topics they feel would be most beneficial to maximise export potential.

To ensure the 2021/22 virtual events and webinar programme is beneficial to businesses in our region we would be grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete our short survey.

Responses can be anonymous and any feedback you can provide will help influence the practical knowledge and support we can offer North East businesses.


From what to expect in employment law in 2021 and beyond to guiding you through taking on finance for your business, catch up with our newest resources designed to support you.  Our helpful checklist will take you through the seven payroll tasks you need to do every April and learn how to make the most of the relationship with your accountant.

Don’t forget to visit our coronavirus hub for the latest news and support.

What to expect in employment law in 2021 and beyond - New IR35 rules, statutory rate changes, updates to the National Minimum Wage and more.  Our employment experts take you through the key things happening in employment law in 2021.  Find out more here.

When is the right time to take on finance for a business? - Knowing when the time is right to start your funding journey can be difficult. Our guide looks at the key indicators that the time is right to get funding.  Read our guide here.

Seven payroll tasks you need to do every April - Stay on top of your annual payroll duties and prepare for the new tax year ahead with FSB Workplace Pensions' payroll checklist.  Read more here.

How to maximise the relationship with your accountant - Learn how you can make the most of the relationship with your accountant, so you can streamline your accounting processes and ensure you meet deadlines and compliance duties.  Find out more here.


Keeping up to date with the latest cyber risks and the tools needed to protect you against them can be difficult while you're focused on your core day-to-day activities.

Join First Voice magazine along with Nick Marsden, Managing Director of and Helen Barge, Managing Director of Risk Evolves to find out some top tips for protecting your small business against cyber attacks - plus a rundown of the different types of risk that you may face.  Click here to listen.

Want to listen on Spotify, Apple Music or another Podcast platform?  We're available on:


Join FSB’s Craig Beaumont for this exclusive First Voice podcast where he picks through chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 2021 Budget, pulling out the announcements that are important to you as small business owners - and outlining exactly what they mean.  From the announcement of furlough continuing, to support for the self-employed, more financial support, apprenticeship funding and much more - Craig lists out all you need to know.

Click here to listen.

Want to listen on Spotify, Apple Music or another Podcast platform?

We're also available on:


From learning how to apply for a CBILS loan to what you need to know about the furlough extension, catch up with our newest resources designed to support you.  We'll also take you through the impact COVID-19 has had on your workplace pension duties and how to manage your online customer reviews.

Don’t forget to visit our coronavirus hub for the latest news and support.

How to apply for a CBILS loan

The CBILS deadline is fast approaching. Our finance experts from FSB Funding Platform answer your frequently asked questions about the scheme.  Read more here.

Furlough extension: What you need to know

The furlough scheme has been extended until 30 April 2021, including flexible furlough.  Find out how the extension works and what you need to do as an employer.  Find our more here.

COVID-19: Workplace pensions guidance for employers

What impact will COVID-19 have on workplace pensions? If your employees are on furlough, find out how this impacts your pension duties.  Read more here.

How to manage your customer reviews

Reviews are everywhere on the internet.  Our guide will take you through where to find feedback about your business on the internet, how to start replying and tips for dealing with negative comments.  Read our guide here.


Recovery Loan Scheme
Launching on Tuesday, 6th April 2021

The Recovery Loan Scheme will launch on Tuesday, 6th April 2021, following the closure of the current Covid-19 debt schemes - the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) - on 31 March 2021.  The Recovery Loan Scheme is scheduled to run until 31 December 2021, but this is subject to review.

The new scheme aims to help businesses affected by Covid-19 and can be used for any legitimate business purpose, including managing cashflow, investment and growth.  It is designed to appeal to businesses that can afford to take out additional debt finance for these purposes.

Details of the scheme include:

  • Up to £10m facility per business: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £10m per business. Minimum facility sizes vary, starting at £1,000 for asset and invoice finance, and £25,001 for term loans and overdrafts.
  • Turnover limit: There will be no turnover restriction for businesses accessing the scheme.
  • Wide range of products: Businesses will be able to choose from a variety of products: term loans, overdrafts, asset finance and invoice finance facilities.
  • Term length: Term loans and asset finance facilities are available for up to six years, with overdrafts and invoice finance available for up to three years.
  • Interest and fees to be paid by the business from the outset: Businesses will be required to meet the costs of interest payments and any fees associated with the facility.
  • Access to multiple schemes: Businesses who have taken out a CBILS, CLBILS or BBLS facility will be able to access the new scheme, although the maximum they are allowed to borrow will depend on their lender’s assessment and scheme requirements.
  • Credit checks for all applicants: Lenders will be required to undertake credit and fraud checks for all applicants. When making their assessment, lenders may overlook concerns over short-to-medium term performance owing to the pandemic. The checks and approach may vary between lenders.

Further information on the Recovery Loan Scheme will be made available on the British Business Bank website.

Future Fund: Breakthrough
Launching early Summer

Future Fund: Breakthrough, which will launch in early Summer 2021, is a new £375m scheme that will encourage private investors to co-invest with government in high-growth innovative firms.  These R&D intensive companies accelerate the deployment of breakthrough technologies which can transform major industries, develop new medicines, and support the UK transition to a net zero economy.

Due to high research and development costs, breakthrough technology companies typically require more capital than other companies to fuel the later stages of their growth.  Future Fund: Breakthrough will target R&D intensive companies seeking a minimum of £20m and will crowd in private sector investment to support their growth.

Future Fund: Breakthrough will be delivered by the British Business Bank, via its commercial subsidiary British Patient Capital.  Further information is available on the British Business Bank website.

Recovery Loan Scheme and Future Fund: Breakthrough
Next Phase

Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief Executive, British Business Bank, said: “The Chancellor has confirmed the British Business Bank’s central role in the next phase of the UK's economic recovery from Covid-19. As businesses begin to plan for the post-Covid period, they will need targeted finance to support them. 

We welcome today’s announcement of two new schemes, one to provide debt finance to a broad range of businesses, and the other to invest equity alongside the private sector in fast growing innovative firms. Both schemes will help drive the innovation and growth needed to support the UK's long-term prosperity.”


Confused about business insurance?

FSB Insurance Service can help

From understanding what cover you need to knowing which policy wording is best for you, there’s a lot to consider when arranging your business insurance.

Click below to visit the FSB Insurance Service website and download our free guide today to learn more about insurance when you’re working for yourself as a freelancer or contractor.

The guide is available to all FSB members and will include:

  • Advice on the different types of cover available
  • How you can prepare for the unexpected
  • Expert tips for getting the right cover at the right price for your business

Download the guide here.

It pays to be protected

Whilst being your own boss can be freeing, it also means all the paperwork falls onto your shoulders.

The last 12 months have been full of changes to the UK trading environment, from COVID-19 to the end of the UK transition period.  As we look ahead to new IR35 rules and a hardening insurance market, it’s vital to make sure you’re prepared.

Get ahead of the hardening market

The hardening insurance market started with an increase in Professional Indemnity premiums and has extended to the rest of the market, resulting in less cover being available, from a more limited market, at higher cost.  As the market hardens, premiums go up.

Preparing early for your commercial insurance renewal is more important than ever.  Thankfully, our experts from FSB Insurance Service are here to help.

Need a quote?

Contact FSB Insurance Service today on 020 3962 8009 for advice or to get a quote (Monday-Friday, 9am-5.30pm.)

Not ready for a quote?

Never miss another renewal date.  Register with FSB Insurance Service today and we’ll mark it in our diary to contact you so you don’t forget.


New Pay As You Grow options will enable more flexible repayments on Bounce Back Loans for UK smaller businesses

The British Business Bank has announced further details of Pay As You Grow, which helps UK smaller businesses that have taken out a Covid-19 emergency Bounce Back Loan to manage their cashflow and have a better chance of getting back to growth.

The Bounce Back Loan Scheme launched on 4th May 2020. It provides financial support to businesses across the UK that are losing revenue, and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since May 2020, the scheme has supported nearly £45bn of loans to 1.5m businesses*.

* Figures as of 25th January 2021.

The options available

Originally announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in September 2020, Pay As You Grow (PAYG) will enable businesses who have started repaying their Bounce Back Loans to:

  • request an extension of their loan term to 10 years from six years, at the same fixed interest rate of 2.5%
  • reduce their monthly repayments for six months by paying interest only.  This option is available up to three times during the term of their Bounce Back Loan
  • take a repayment holiday for up to six months.  This option is available once during the term of their Bounce Back Loan.

Borrowers can use these options individually or in combination with each other**, and remain responsible for repaying their Bounce Back Loan and fully liable for the debt.

** Borrowers should be aware that they will pay more interest overall if they use one or more of these options, and that the length of the loan will increase in line with any repayment holidays taken.


Lenders will start to communicate Pay As You Grow (PAYG) options to Bounce Back Loan Scheme borrowers three months before repayments commence. 

Lenders will inform their customers about PAYG directly, so borrowers should wait until they are contacted by their lender before enquiring about the scheme. 

Lenders will advise customers about how their payment profiles may change according to their choices under the scheme.  Businesses first began to receive BBLS loans in May 2020 and the first repayments will become due from May 2021 onwards.

Richard Bearman, Managing Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank, said: “Pay As You Grow will provide tangible benefits to Bounce Back Loan recipients, many of whom may have accessed the Bounce Back Loan Scheme to borrow money for their business for the first time. The scheme offers greater flexibility to businesses who may need flexibility in paying off their Bounce Back Loan and enables them to manage their repayments more effectively.”

Please click here to read the full Press Notice.

Finance Hub

Businesses who have concerns regarding repaying debt should contact their lender, and can find additional links to resources on the British Business Bank Finance Hub.

Shaun Fooy, British Business Bank, Senior Manager, UK Network - North East England