Nearly two-thirds of London-based SMEs are exporting

Avanta’s research found that 60 per cent were trading overseas, with Europe being the most popular target at 48 per cent. In addition, 23 per cent were doing business in the Middle East, 22 per cent in Australia and New Zealand, 16 per cent in India and 15 per cent in China.

Alan Pepper, CEO of Avanta, said: “British SMEs have traditionally been cautious about selling their products outside the UK, however, our survey shows that small businesses in London are now crossing borders in their droves.”

Pepper explained the cause of this trend: “Global trade has undoubtedly become a lot more accessible in recent years, with the internet and e-commerce making the world a much smaller place. There has also been a big drive from the government to encourage smaller businesses to export, so it appears that this message is hitting home, particularly now the economy is on the up.”

Respondents highlighted the benefits of accessibility, multiculturalism, good air transportation links and the central time zone when discussing why London was a good base for an international business.

The biggest issues of being based in the capital were affordability and government policy. Over three quarters of the sample named cost of living in London as the biggest problem and 39 per cent said the desire for more positive government policies to support high growth businesses.

Londoners’ favourite place to do business internationally was New York, and Paris scored the lowest. 

Avanta surveyed over 200 of its small business customers in London, examining their views and experiences of trading both in London and around the world.

However, as the survey covered a wide range of sectors, businesses using serviced office space are often involved knowledge and consultancy work – potentially making them more likely to export than the wider business community.

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