One in three small businesses is trading overseas

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), there are some 5.7 million small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.  They employ 16.1 million people and have a combined annual turnover of £1.9 trillion, 51% of all private sector turnover in the UK.

In economic terms, SMEs make a significant contribution to the UK economy. 

But how many of these businesses trade overseas?

To answer this question, we commissioned research, in collaboration with Global Trade Review (GTR), to better understand the role of trade in the UK today.  

The data shows that 30 per cent of SMEs now trade internationally.  It also shows that most SMEs are likely to be exposed to international trade in some way, commonly through imports or back-office functions located abroad.

SMEs are vital to UK trade and play an important role in the UK’s ability to grow its global supply chains.  Which is supported by the report which shows the distribution of international business by sector. Some 24 per cent of SME manufacturing businesses have international turnovers.

Despite the strong performance of SMEs, they need working capital to continue to succeed.  

It is only by providing better access to funding that we can support SMEs to trade, grow and create jobs.

To read more about the research, please see our UK trade briefing report:   

This research was initially published in our UK trade briefing 2018 report, on which this blog and the data within is based.  The sources for the research include the United Nations, Eurostat, the OECD and customs and excise data as well as UK Office of National Statistics data.


The information in this article is not the opinion of Wyelands Bank but based on the research commissioned and data provided by Global Trade Review in March 2018

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