Report: UK SMEs Lose in £141 Billion Export Shortfall

World First, a money transfer and FX firm, has commissioned a report by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR) that states there is a £141.3 billion export shortfall being experienced by UK SMEs. The report, entitled Thinking Global: The route to UK exporting success, was conducted at a time when the global spotlight is firmly on the UK and the post-Brexit world. The publication said that only 5% of UK SMEs are inclined to start exporting in the next 5 years. Brexit, culture and language were identified as key barriers to exporting by UK SMEs.

Jonathan QuinJonathan Quin, CEO and Co-Founder of World First commented on the report;

“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. But with only 5% 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. The creation of a Government Minister for Scale-ups would go a long way in supporting businesses in their international development and drastically improve this figure.”

Quin stated that Brexit has brought about a good amount of uncertainty for UK businesses while reinforcing the importance of taking a global approach and exploring new markets.

“As the Government’s Brexit negotiations take centre stage over the next few years, we would urge that SMEs are included and actively consulted throughout the process in order to ensure their views and needs are actively considered,” said Quin.

Some key points referenced in the document;

  • With the value of overall exports stagnating, the UK is set to miss the target set by the Government in 2012 to raise the level of exports to £1 trillion by 2020. The share of SMEs exporting has also declined and the UK ranks in the bottom ve of European nations for SME exporters.
  • If UK exports had grown at the same rate as the world’s average, they would have brought an additional $78 billion in 2014
  • If SMEs could go further and match the exporting levels of larger businesses, UK exports could rise by £141.3 billion – a boost of 25%.
  • The typical UK SME exporter generates over £287,000 from exports each year
  • The UK ranks in the bottom five across European economies when it comes to the share of SMEs among exporters

The report will be officially launched at the THINK GLOBAL 2016, an inaugural summit hosted by World First focused on the opportunities and barriers to international trade.

The report is embedded below.

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