Over half of UK small firms to enter new markets by 2017

Small and medium businesses are becoming more interested in international trade as a route to growth, according to Albion Ventures

More than half of the UK’s small and medium businesses plan to enter new overseas markets in the next two years, a study by Albion Ventures has reported.

The findings, outlined in the third Albion Growth Report, have found that medium-sized companies are more likely to expand internationally (77%) than small businesses (53%) with companies in the manufacturing sector said to be “leading the way” when it comes to international trade aspirations.

75% of manufacturing businesses plan to enter new markets followed by businesses in media, marketing and advertising (68%) and IT (56%).

Regionally, small firms in London are the most likely to grow overseas by 2017 (66%), followed by those in the South West (62%), and Scotland and the North East (59%). Small businesses in Wales were the least likely to launch in new markets with only 50% planning to do so.

Despite the fact that more companies plan to grow overseas, many of those businesses “that have already taken the plunge” report a number of challenges in growing overseas. These include a lack of expertise (13%), regulatory obstacles (13%), strong competition (12%), and lack of demand (12%).

Albion Ventures managing partner, Patrick Reeve, commented:

“Given the EU’s continuing economic travails, it’s of little surprise that other overseas markets are proving more popular.

“Breaking into new markets is easier said than done and all too often small firms lack the necessary expertise to overcome established competitors.”

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