UK firms look overseas for new opportunities, despite Brexit

Lamont Pridmore - Accountants

Currently, most small businesses in the UK can link between 20 – 50 per cent of their revenue to overseas markets. However, a new study has shown that most recognise that they must expand internationally to succeed.

A new study conducted at the 2018 International Business Festival has found that Britain’s small businesses are looking to overseas markets for growth, with Europe ranked as their number one destination.

The survey of 500 decision-makers in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) found that 55 per cent see Brexit as a challenge, but two-fifths are still positive about the potential opportunities presented by leaving the EU.

Amongst the respondents, three quarters plan to increase overseas revenue generation in the next three years, with 82 per cent having a clear strategy for future markets to target.

Around three-quarters of businesses also described themselves as ambitious internationally and well-placed to capitalise on global opportunities.

However, the companies surveyed did highlight a number of challenges that would stand in their way, the most significant of which are the barriers to increasing export activity, including export regulation, getting to grips with the technology involved and finding the right logistics partners.

 Amanda Murphy, Head of Commercial Banking for HSBC UK and a Festival speaker, said: “This new data echoes what we’re hearing from customers – they are hungry for opportunities abroad, and won’t let wider uncertainties dampen their spirits.

“Our new trade forecast predicts the value of UK goods and services exports will increase by about 10 per cent in 2018, representing the fastest pace of growth since 2011.

“Over the longer term, we expect it to double by 2030. But to realise this potential, banks, British businesses, the Government and other partners need to work together to ensure the UK is best positioned to unlock opportunities in international markets.”

Max Steinberg, Chair of the 2018 International Business Festival, added: “It’s clear that entrepreneurs have aspirations of international growth but are hindered by stumbling blocks like regulations and logistics.” 

If you are looking to expand your export network in the future speak to our Brexit Professionals.