Small businesses are bullish about exports

Small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly optimistic about overseas growth prospects, with young businesspeople leading the charge.

by Jack Torrance
Last Updated: 29 Sep 2014

George Osborne’s ambition of reaching £1tn in British exports by 2020 seems increasingly unachievable. Exports would have to grow 10% every year between now and then, after growing just 2.1% in 2013.  
 
But there are at least some signs of positivity today, as new figures suggest small and medium-sized businesses (those employing less than 250 staff) are increasingly optimistic about prospects for overseas expansion.
 
The survey by YouGov and Citrix found that 60% of the 2,000 businesses surveyed expect to be trading overseas by 2016, 20% more than currently do so.
 
There has been concern that Britain is not taking advantage of the increasingly fat wallets of consumers in emerging markets, but the figures show that one in 10 of the businesses is trading beyond the familiar economies of Europe and North America - not many, but it's a start.  
 
Young business owners and managers are leading the way, with those aged 25-44 more likely to already be doing business in China, Russia, India, South America and the Pacific Rim.
 
These young guns are also the most bullish about future prospects, being 60% more likely to expect increasing the number of countries they trade with. Let’s hope that’s a sign of things to come rather than just naïve, youthful optimism.

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