An annual survey suggests that some 1.3 million UK-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) intend to branch out overseas this year in a bid to expand their horizons and fuel their growth plans.
According to CitySprint’s latest annual survey of business owners and decision makers, ambitions among Britain’s SMEs remain strong despite the fact that business confidence has fallen slightly over the past few years.
Looking ahead, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of business leaders surveyed told the leading logistics company that they intended to investigate opportunities to expand overseas before the end of 2018.
Of those eyeing-up international trade, the majority (78 per cent) said they wanted their organisation to branch out into Europe, while more than half (55 per cent) added that they were hoping to establish a customer base in the United States.
Meanwhile, a further 36 per cent added that they wanted to expand into Asian markets.
The survey assessed businesses in a variety of prominent sectors and found that, in most industries, around a third of businesses were anticipating above-average levels of international growth.
37 per cent of SMEs operating in the arts and culture sector felt confident about their short-term international future, as did 36 per cent of IT and telecoms companies, 32 per cent of SME retailers and 30 per cent of manufacturing and utility firms.
Commenting on the findings, Patrick Gallagher, Group CEO at CitySprint, suggested it was encouraging that businesses were keen to push ahead with their growth plans despite current political uncertainties.
“The UK’s smaller enterprises show no shortage of ambition when it comes to exploring new markets,” he said.
“While overall SME confidence has dropped since 2015, it is great to see so many SMEs, especially those outside of London, showing no fear in the face of international opportunity.”