Research carried out by accountancy and business advisory firm RSM Tenon, has revealed that almost 60% of SMEs believe Government is not helping businesses to export.
The RSM Tenon Business Barometer - a quarterly survey carried out by You Gov of senior management in small and medium sized enterprises – said only 21% of SMEs thought Government was helping businesses export.
However £13 million of funding has been awarded by the Government to help 10,000 more British firms export. The funds will go to UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to help more companies make contacts and sell to overseas markets.
The majority of the investment – up to £9 million – will go directly towards boosting trade opportunities for SMEs.
In addition, £2.5 million will be invested in helping firms access and win some of the many high-value opportunities that UKTI has identified globally.
Over half of the monetary value of the UK’s exports comes from SMEs.
The new investment comes as part of a drive by Government to boost exports for UK firms and achieve its ambitions to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 and get 100,000 more companies exporting.
The £13 million investment will be funded by under spend from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ annual budget for 2011/12.
RSM Tenon Head of Clients and Markets, John Abbott says: “Of the SMEs surveyed, 38% are currently exporting, but 53% have not even considered it, which is surprising, considering the strength of overseas markets compared to the domestic market and economy.
Only 3% of SMEs have considered exporting but decided against it and only 5% have considered exporting and are still to decide.”
This stands in stark contrast to Contamac, National Champion at the European Business Awards. Over 85% of Contamac’s sales come from exports.
“From the beginning we had to focus on exports as the UK market for our products is relatively small.” explains Simon Wyatt, Contamac’s Commercial Director. “In addition to finding customers, and the right markets, the procedures and documentation for exporting can seem very daunting, as can language and cultural differences. We took on the challenge ourselves and have developed a very successful business.
Simon adds: “The Government has tried to help SMEs with exports through UKTI, and with inward and outward missions. Whilst this is an improvement, and the support is subsidised, I feel much more specific and expert help is required to give small businesses the confidence to take the first steps. What perhaps may be interesting is the Government supporting a ‘mentoring’ approach, whereby a company such as Contamac, shares its now considerable export experience with others looking to take those first steps.”
Contamac Ltd celebrates its 25th year of trading this year, and employs 58 staff operating from facilities in Saffron Walden, Essex. Over 85% of its sales are exports, to 65 different countries. Contamac manufactures polymers for the production of contact and intra-ocular lenses (lenses inserted in the eye following cataract surgery).