Over four fifths of UK SMEs trading overseas expect to see their exporting business revenues increase over the next year. Medium-sized businesses of between 50 and 249 employees are the most confident, with 89% expecting growth, according to an Aldermore survey.
The Aldermore Future Attitudes report of 1,004 senior decision makers at SMEs found that 32% of UK SMEs export overseas, with this figure rising to over half when looking exclusively at medium-sized businesses. Of the SMEs that don’t currently export, 18% plan to do so in the next five years.
Europe (77%) remains the most popular export market, with two fifths exporting to North America and 32% to Asia.
However Siemens has warned of potentially limiting investment in the UK following its departure from the European Union. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called upon the government to deliver a Brexit deal that keeps Britain in the European customs union and maintains single market benefits.
When asked to detail the main challenges to exporting, in the Aldermore survey 24% of SME business owners cited the strength of other currencies versus the pound, with Brexit (23%), and customs and administrative entry procedures (22%), the next most likely to be cited.
Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said: “As the uncertainty around Brexit continues to concern the small business community, it is encouraging to see that nearly two million SMEs are exporting to overseas markets, and are in a much stronger position as a result.
“We hope that small businesses can make the most of the opportunity to export to new markets and continue to deliver vital support to the wider UK economy.”
In March the British Business Bank added Aldermore to its asset finance guarantee scheme.