More than 3,000 medium-sized businesses exporting due to UKTI support
3 min read
12 March 2015
Despite making up just 0.5 per cent of UK businesses, medium-sized businesses (MSBs) account for a fifth of employment and 25 per cent of UK turnover. In 2013 it was believed that a disturbing gap in export finance was shackling the international ambitions of MSBs and could damage the UK economy’s long-term prospects. This pattern seems to have shifted.
Kim Hayward, international liaison partner at BDO, once suggested that the UK’s global export share fell by nearly 50 per cent in the last 30 years.
He said: “Just over five per cent of our exports are to the BRIC countries and we still export more to Ireland than to China. Clearly, the journey that UK businesses could, and should, undertake goes beyond the traditional notion of exporting or selling abroad.
“But there are currently two barriers at play for MSBs: knowledge and support, including financial. MSBs need active help to understand their potential for international success and support to implement their plans.”
But with their contribution set to grow to an estimated £50bn by 2020, helping MSBs export has never been as important. Indeed, encouraging more MSBs to “spread their wings” has been a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan to create jobs and reduce the deficit.
And with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Lord Livingston suggesting that MSBs could “be the driving force of the UK economy”, it’s nice to see the sector receiving increased government support.
In 2014 he wrote to all MSBs asking if they needed help from UKTI, with a target set in mind. The number of UK businesses succeeding on a global scale rose from 1,000 to 3,000 in the past year.
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Lord Livington said: “By trebling the number receiving support from UKTI to over 3,000, we are helping to create jobs and growth across the UK. Exporting is mot just for large firms and the UKTI’s tailored programmes can help British MSBs to compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer.”
Simon Moore, CBI international director also explained that “it’s imperative government and other businesses continue to help MSBs sell their products and services into high-growth markets around the world.”
This comes hand in hand with the results of the Western Union Business Solutions’ International Trade Monitor, which revealed that SMEs are expanding their tentacles once more, hoping to achieve success overseas. With a whopping 83 per cent of SMEs saying they felt confident about Britain’s economic climate, it’s no wonder that they are now set on increasing their international activity in the coming year.