SMEs missing out on export opportunities, says study

A new study has revealed that less than a fifth of UK Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are exporting their products overseas – and that UK industry is missing out on billions of pounds as a result.

The news comes from a report entitled Thinking Global: The Route to UK Exporting Success, which was commissioned by currency transfer firm World First and carried out by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR).

The report suggested that the number of UK SMEs failing to take advantage of export opportunities is causing the economy to miss out on a potential £141billion.

Research revealed that while less than a fifth of SMEs currently had export infrastructure in place, only 5 per cent had plans to start exporting their products within the next five years.

In comparison, 40 per cent of large businesses admitted to having export infrastructure in place.

Jonathan Quinn, CEO of World First, said that uncertainty following the European Union (EU) Referendum should not deter SMEs from exploring export opportunities.

“The fallout from the UK Referendum has also brought about a significant amount of uncertainty for businesses but, if anything, it reinforces the importance of taking a global view and exploring new markets.

“The value of the export opportunity to the UK economy is enormous and so much more needs to be done for the UK to fulfil its potential as a trading nation,” he added.

“But with only 5 per cent of UK SMEs considering exporting over the next few years, it is clear that the UK’s SMEs need much more in terms of inspiration and support to seize the growth opportunities that exist in global markets.”