Small businesses in the UK looking at investing in exporting at a far higher rate since Brexit, a new study from Bibby Financial Services has revealed. The alternative finance house publishes a quarterly Confidence Tracker, and the latest iteration shows the highest number of SMEs investing in overseas trade since 2014.
In addition, one in five manufacturers – a crucial element of the economic mix in the UK – have invested new money in exporting in the last (post-Brexit) quarter. Indeed, it seems that Brexit has, at least in the short term, not dented SME appetite for export efforts. Of course, the sudden and marked fall in the value of sterling immediately after the referendum may indeed be a major factor at play.
The Bibby figures also show that, “while the main focus for investment in Q3 is staff training (35%), an increasing number of businesses are gearing-up to export.” Alongside that , the tracker reveal that 15% of SMEs invested in export activity in Q3 this year, compared with just 8% in Q3 2015, signalling an increasing appetite among smaller businesses to shrug-off Brexit concerns and search for growth beyond their domestic market.
‘SMEs want to get back to business’
Global Chief Executive for Bibby Financial Services, David Postings, commented: “It’s clear that SMEs want to get back to business after an unsettled first half of the year and it’s encouraging to see more SMEs looking overseas to unlock growth.”
“While many SMEs are concerned about the falling pound, we’ve seen a range of positive data over the summer that show a resilience in the UK economy. Many firms are now taking advantage of the fall in sterling to build their export capability, particularly those who manufacture within the UK.
“Although more businesses are investing in international trade, the majority remain focused on domestic trade only. While former Chancellor George Osborne’s ambition of doubling UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 is highly unlikely, there’s more that can be done by both the public and private sector to help SMEs find growth opportunities overseas.