ALMOST a quarter of the UK’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are looking at international trade in order to fuel growth this year, according to new research.
Distribution company CitySprint surveyed over 1,000 decision makers and owners at UK SMEs and found that 78 per cent of those looking at international trade this year expressed an interest in Europe. This was followed by North America (55 per cent) and Asia (36 per cent).
“The UK’s smaller enterprises show no shortage of ambition when it comes to exploring new markets,” said Patrick Gallagher, group chief executive at CitySprint Group.
“While overall SME confidence has dropped since 2015 it is great to see so many SMEs, especially those outside of London, showing no fear in the face international opportunity.”
SMEs in the arts and culture, IT and telecoms, retail, manufacturing and utilities sectors were most likely to be planning to trade internationally, the survey found.
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However, the research also highlighted that SMEs view lower customer demand and Brexit as the top two obstacles to success in the 12 months ahead, making expansion into new markets of critical importance.
“Whether it’s going global or taking trade nationwide for the first time, scaling up is a huge milestone in any organisation’s history,” said Gallagher.
“It needs to be done thoughtfully and with care – but it doesn’t have to be done in isolation. SMEs must work together to realise their goals.”