90% of Europe’s smaller firms targeting emerging markets

Almost 90% of small and medium-sized businesses across Europe are planning to break into emerging markets over the next year – primarily Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC).

That is according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which surveyed senior directors from 618 western European companies.

Around 550 respondents revealed that their business is already expanding beyond its domestic boundaries – partly due to the consequences of the financial crisis at home, coupled with lack of opportunities in the “over-subscribed” European market.

Looking forward, more than half of the survey’s respondents expect to increase their involvement in emerging countries in 2011 and 2012 – with 55% saying that the BRIC countries will be their principal focus.

Nearly half of those who submitted responses said they intend to expand into Brazil, a country currently benefiting from political stability, improved infrastructure and a commercial boom catalysed by the 2014 World Cup.

Jason Sumner, senior editor at the EIU and editor of the report, believes small firms are ideally suited to expanding into emerging markets, saying:

“They can respond more quickly to changing conditions, have closer relationships with customers and can better target niche markets.

“Emerging markets are seen as crucial to the growth strategy of many European small and medium-sized enterprises.”

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