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Research performed for a recent report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and BDO, an accountancy firm, has shown that small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) are being denied the finance and support they require to fulfil their international ambitions. This is holding SMEs back from being able to export and invest abroad, and the report warns that economic recovery could be damaged if the government and private sector finance providers fail to recognise the issue and provide their backing.
This is particularly important when considering that, according to the report, 50% of MSBs believe exporting to new markets to be fundamental to their growth strategy and 78% expect to generate greater revenue from investing abroad over the next three years.
According to the CBI research, if this issue is tackled properly, SMEs could be worth an additional £20 billion to the economy. This is a huge amount, especially when considering that UK Export Finance (UKEF) have provided direct assistance to only 52 SMEs in the last year. The report suggests that by 2015 UKEF should be aiming to directly assist 250 SMEs.
Interestingly, and perhaps alarmingly, 66% of SMEs were not even aware of UKEF and 69% were not aware of UK Trade and Investment, which is the government arm designed to help businesses succeed in international markets.
Partner and head of BDO in Cardiff, Graham Randall, said “Local SMEs need help to understand their potential for international success. They need hands on support to help map out the international journey and, importantly, must have access to the right advice and funding to implement their plans. Doing business in international markets is no longer just the realm of the region’s biggest businesses but their experience and knowledge is key. The non-exporter of today can be the global business of tomorrow, but only if the government, big business and finance providers play ball.”
It is clear that international growth should be a key focus area for businesses and finance providers. Should you require any advice about business strategy, finance, or exploring international options, please contact a member of the Forbury Business team who would be more than happy to assist.
Suzanne Hoare, Solicitor, Clarkslegal LLP
Tel: 0118 939 5764
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