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UK businesses aiming to expand internationally doubles

Study finds businesses could be hampering international expansion ambitions by not having adequate online presence

The number of British business owners looking to expand internationally has doubled since 2013, Santander’s business growth survey has found.

According to the research, 6% of UK-based small and mid-sized business owners are looking reap the financial rewards of overseas trade, in comparison with just 3% in 2013 and 2012.

The survey also found that 22% of companies targeting an annual turnover of more than £5m are aiming to become international businesses, although a surprising 26% of those committed to international expansion do not currently have a website. Additionally, 57% of those same businesses have no capacity to accept online payments, which could significantly affect their expansion ambitions.

The findings come as UKTI (UK trade and Investment) has agreed to work with the high street bank to support UK small and medium sized exporters. The partnership will offer expert support, financial and practical assistance, and a network of international contacts to break down the barriers facing British businesses on the world stage.

Elsewhere, celebrity entrepreneur Myleene Klass is working with Santander to promote enterprise and exporting to the UK’s small and mid-sized businesses. As a brand ambassador for online department store Littlewoods, Klass’s range of clothing sells somewhere in the world every 15 minutes. She was guest speaker at the Santander Breakthrough summit in Leeds on March 25th, urging Britain’s businesses to think beyond its shores in their expansion plans.

Nathan Bostock, CEO at Santander, said: “We want to work closely with our clients to understand what their needs and aspirations are. We’re excited at Santander to be working with UKTI to be able to provide UK business leaders with all the expertise and assistance they need to facilitate their international expansion.

“Exporting is a key part of the success of the UK economy and Santander is committed to supporting international trade opportunities and helping UK companies grow and prosper.”

Lord Livingston, minister of state for trade and investment, said: “I am delighted that UKTI and Santander are coming together in support of UK businesses. It is important that government and business work together to help smaller companies and medium-sized businesses to export. I look forward to the progress we will make together.”

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