Could embracing the power of exporting be a viable economic solution for SMEs?

Exporters are vital to the economic recovery of the UK, a fact which is highlighted by the country’s exporting activity reaching a new peak since before the recession began.


During the second quarter, exporting reached its highest levels since mid-2007, showing the need to exploit the opportunities for growth that are currently on offer.


SMEs are perfectly placed to do just that, but how?


A helping hand


Breaking into new markets can be difficult for smaller businesses but help is at hand thanks to a recently introduced scheme.


In March, UK Trade and Investment announced 99 UKTI Trade Challenge Partners, with the aim of getting more UK SMEs doing business overseas.


Included in the plans was assistance for existing exporters with cohesive and comprehensive support on offer to help them reach their full export potential.


The scheme has a collective membership of 70,000, showing the desire of many businesses to seize the initiative and take advantage of the burgeoning export economy.


Of that membership, it is estimated that 40% are already trading internationally, providing the UKTI with a solid foundation with which to boost UK exporting.


“These results are certainly encouraging,” said Carl Hasty, director at Smart Currency Business, a firm that helps SMEs with international payments.


“However, what we need to see now are joint efforts by the Government and industry to nurture and build on this growth, making it easier for more firms to begin trading internationally, by providing the funding and infrastructure to enable them to test new markets.


“There's little doubt downward pressure on Sterling against the euro and dollar since the start of the year will have given the UK's exporters a competitive edge this year.”


Conquering the world


As long as growth continues, it is now vital to provide assistance to SMEs looking to open up export links with new business partners. Such a pathway could be the key to new links and investments, which could ultimately result in growth.


Entering these foreign markets can boost the UK economy as well as the global economy, if it is done properly.


During Q2 of 2013, export orders for service sector businesses hit their highest level on record while 44% of manufacturing firms in the same period grew their export orders.


Those were the highest figures in more than a year, showing the significant gains being made in the UK export markets.


Now more SMEs must follow suit and take advantage while the growth continues. 


By Phil Smith


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