SMEs Defy International Trade Trends

Regional Exports Increase But SMEs Still Require More Support


London's exporting confidence has spread throughout the UK, with new export epicentres emerging nationwide, new research has found.
The UK Export Epicentres Report by FedEx Express found that as many as 79% of SMEs believe their regional locality is a positive factor in regards to improving overseas growth and profitability. Many smaller companies around the UK are enjoying increased exporting rates in defiance of broader international trends.
Leeds, Manchester and Southampton currently have a strong exporting rate of 81% – the same as London – but it is Bradford that has enjoyed the most growth, with an exporting rate of 86%.
However, despite 94% of SMEs reporting optimism for the year head, more than a third of those surveyed felt they needed more support on a local level to achieve international expansion.
Trevor Hoyle, vice president of Northern Europe operations at FedEx Express said that UK SMEs should "embrace their regional identities when building global relationships."
"This research has unveiled some fascinating insights into how regional self-perception and business optimism can be linked. Although challenges still remain for some companies in doing business abroad, they can be overcome by having access to the right support, expertise and network," he said. 

Expert Opinion
It is very welcome to see that small businesses across the UK are thriving and developing international links as they look to expand their offerings.

"For a number of years, it may have been the case that SMEs in the capital or the south were best placed to thrive. However, the emergence of online platforms and the evolution in technology – among other factors – means that is simply not the case anymore.

"While this is very positive, small businesses should not rest on their laurels and expect success regardless of their location. A key issue for them to consider is their support network and whether they have the advice available which will allow them to move to the next level. Support from legal advisers is an absolute requisite."
Steven Beahan, Partner