Number of small businesses investing in exports up by 371,000

New research signals an increasing appetite among small and medium businesses to grow beyond their home market...

The number of UK small businesses trading overseas has increased to 795,000 – up from 424,000 at this same period last year – according to a new report from Bibby Financial Services.

Basing the figures on weighting on survey results against ONS businesss population estimates, the report is said to show the highest number of small firms investing in exports since 2014.

This increase in export activity appears to have not been affected by the Brexit result with 37% of the small businesses surveyed having stated that the UK’s vote to leave the EU has not impacted their business.

However, 51% of small firms did agree that the decreasing value of the pound – linked closely to the Brext result – is a “signficant threat” to business over the next 12 months, despite a weaker pound provide opportunities for exporters.

David Postings, global chief executive for Bibby Financial Services, said: “It’s clear that small and medium enterprises want to get back to business after an unsettled first half of the year and it’s encouraging to see more small firms looking overseas to unlock growth.

“Although more businesses are investing in international trade, the majority remain focused on domestic trade only. While former chancellor George Osborne’s ambition of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 is highly unlikely, there’s more that can be done by both the public and private sector to help small and medium enterprises find growth opportunities overseas.

“Much rests on the government’s trade negotiations both within and outside of the UK but for the time being, the businesses we speak with tell us their priorities are to get on with their jobs and put their capital to work during the final months of the year.”

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