Small firms should think global

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.
Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.
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If more of its 195,000 circa membership took the plunge to export for the first time, £792m could be added to the economy annually according to a new report from the Blackpool based Federation of Small Businesses.

New FSB research shows that six per cent of its members that don’t currently export say they would like to in the future.

By doing so, they could generate millions in additional economic activity. In addition it would help the Government meet its ambitious targets to get 100,000 new businesses exporting by 2020, potentially adding £5.6 bn to the economy at the same time. 

The Government is relying on UKTI to support these new exporters to target overseas for the first time.

The research also shows that since 2010, awareness of UKTI has increased among FSB members that export from 37 per cent in 2010 to 49 per cent in 2012.

While this is an improvement, the FSB believes that more can be done to promote UKTI services.

It is disappointing that only one in five businesses have used UKTI services and the FSB is encouraging more firms to engage with the support available. The report enabling small businesses in the drive for exports highlights the perception of small firms that UKTI support is just for big businesses.

The FSB believes in order to get more small firms exporting for the first time, UKTI should raise awareness of the support available for small firms.

Moreover its programmes such as the Tradeshow Access Programme and the Overseas Market Introduction Service should help small firms build networks to generate real quality leads.

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