International Trade

London SMEs leading the export charge

2 min read

11 November 2014

The latest BDO research reveals that UK's mid-sized businesses are an exporting powerhouse, accounting for nearly £1 in every £4 of goods exported from the UK, despite making up less than one per cent of all UK firms. But City firms are leading the charge, having exported £147bn of goods and services to customers outside the UK over the last 12 months.

A Greater London Authority report suggests that one third of London businesses now trade overseas and SMEs are exporting at nearly twice the rate of their larger counterparts!

Indeed, mid-market exports are also a vital part of the regional economy,  contributing an annual value of £7.5bn.

The figures also revealed that, when compared against the value of imports, the City creates a surplus of £28bn from exported goods and services.

The deputy mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, Kit Malthouse, said: “These figures confirm that exports of goods and services already offer an incredible value to London’s economy. And small businesses, the lifeblood of our economy, are playing a huge part in that.

“Some of them are entrepreneurs, some start-ups, some seasoned business people, but all are demonstrating the global reach of London’s exports. Great strides have been made but we must continue to increase London’s exports in new overseas markets. Shifting just a few per cent more sales to customers overseas can create billions of pounds more value for London and indeed the UK.”

However, policy-makers are striving to rebalance the economy so that UK growth is less dependent on London. BDO has recently called on the Government to make it easier for the UK SMEs across all regions to sell abroad.

And, alongside the UKTI, the Mayor has committed to delivering four new trade missions for British firms over the next 12 months.

The Mayor’s Export programme aims to assist companies entering overseas markets for the first time or existing exporters to consider entering more complex markets, particularly those outside Europe.

Two major new missions will take place in the first weeks of 2015. On 19 January up to 15 businesses will head to Ningbo, near Shanghai, to take part in a programme designed to develop business skills and marketing strategies for the powerful Chinese market. 

 On 9 February businesses representing the life sciences sector will head to the US to attend a major biotechnology conference in New York and then head to Boston, which is one of the world’s leading centres for biomedical research, to explore new business possibilities.