UK entrepreneurs plan overseas expansion in 2012

One in three targeting international market, with focus on western Europe

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  • Georgina-Kate Adams

Nearly a third of UK entrepreneurs are planning to expand their businesses overseas in the New Year, research has revealed.

According to RSM Tenon, 31% of Britain's entrepreneurs have the international market in their sights for 2012 – with nearly half looking to western Europe as their best opportunity for international growth, in spite of the Eurozone crisis.

Next on the hit list is eastern Europe, which will be pursued by 37% of the study's respondents – while 35% will seek new customers in north America.

The research – which featured contributions from leading UK entrepreneurs including Will King, founder of King of Shaves, and angel investor Sherry Coutu – also found that the highest proportion of internationally-minded entrepreneurs are based in London (68%), closely followed by Midlands-based businesses.

However, on top of ambitious overseas expansion plans, 15% of the entrepreneurs studied said that they are looking to acquire additional businesses in international markets within the next 12 months.

One in three entrepreneurs said that increased international opportunities would play a key role in the overall improvement of entrepreneurship in the UK.

Philip Coleman, head of international business development RSM Tenon, said: “It is interesting that despite the current crisis in the Eurozone, most of the entrepreneurs see their businesses expanding into Europe over the next year.

“Despite the current difficulties, I think that there are really interesting opportunities for UK companies in Europe.

“My advice is to look beyond the crisis, be prepared to go in and stay in for the long-term, and if it is done in the right way there could be some good rewards for UK entrepreneurs post the issues in the Eurozone.”

Georgina-Kate Adams

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