More SMEs in the UK have ambitions to export goods and services, according to a new report released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The quarterly business index found that 24% of the FSB’s 9,000 members are expecting exports to increase over the next few months.

The highest rises are predicted in manufacturing (42%), wholesale (41%), research and development (36%) and engineering (34%).

Export Week

These findings were launched just as the UK Trade and Investment’s Export Week got underway – with various seminars and events organised across the country to encourage British businesses to break into the international markets.

Trade Minister Lord Livingston believes there has never been a better time for businesses to enter the international markets and said there are “lucrative opportunities” for firms to take advantage of.

“Exporting helps companies grow and research shows that exporters do better with UKTI’s help. I encourage all companies with global ambitions to get in contact with the UKTI,” he said.

Businesses aren’t aware of available support

The FSB thinks more needs to be done to raise awareness of the support provided by the UKTI, citing that only half of their members who export are aware of the help on offer.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “Starting to export is a big step for small firms. They therefore need tailored advice and support which will allow them to overcome the barriers to exporting that have been repeatedly identified by our surveys.”

Mr Allan believes SMEs have a major part to play in helping the Government meet its targets for 100,000 new exporters and to double the value of exports by 2020.

“The UK’s export strategy must focus on matching a company’s export potential to the right overseas market,” he added.

“The majority of our members still export to the Eurozone but are increasingly looking to other dynamic markets such as China for opportunities.”

If you are considering expanding into international markets and want guidance on this, it is possible to organise a free meeting with a UKTI advisor by filling out an online form at greatbusiness.com.