65% SMEs created in the recession exported in their first year of business

Perhaps as a result of the recession, 65 per cent of SMEs founded between 2007 and 2014 have started exporting within their first year of business. This is nearly double the amount of businesses who started trading abroad before 2007, according to Barclays research.

Steve Childs, head of international for SMEs at Barclays, said: “The case for exporting is strong given the growth potential it offers. It’s therefore interesting that the research shows a shift in the time when small business started their export journey, depending on the period the business was formed and against the backdrop of UK economic cycles.”

Indeed, the research demonstrated “the rise in international appetite for UK products and services in the last seven years”. Another factor in the decision to export was the declining UK economy, named by 15 per cent of SMEs. For pre-recession businesses this number fell to 12 per cent. 

Looking at international markets earlier was also attributed to growth limits. Some 26 per cent of SMEs set up in the last seven years stated they had reached their UK growth ceiling within just one year.

“It shows that ‘younger’ businesses whose outlook on UK economy may have been shaken by the events following 2007 and 2008, have set their sights on overseas horizons right from the start and making a success of this,” said Childs. 

“Conversely the findings reveal businesses started before this time have taken a slightly more measured and cautious approach to exporting, though there is some regret from those that wish they’d grabbed the bull by the horns a little earlier.’’

A substantial 42 per cent of SMEs formed before 1990 and currently exporting say they wish they had started exporting sooner. But despite this fact, pre-recession businesses have great ambition for future growth, attributing the greatest proportion of their predicted growth in the coming year to exporting.

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