Progress on the travel green list good news for up to 2.5 million small businesses looking for growth overseas
Our new study of 1,500 directors of UK small businesses found that 43% were looking at regions outside of the UK to grow their business, equating to just over 2.5 million businesses in the UK.
The data shows the proportion of enterprises looking to do business in the UK domestic market has fallen (to 81% to 77%) whilst those looking for business opportunities overseas has risen from 41% to 43%. In some industry sectors there have been significant rises in the percentage of small business looking to secure growth from overseas markets – rising from 52% to 62% in the media sector and from 48% to 58% in the transport and distribution sector.
EU countries topped the list of regions where entrepreneurs wanted to do business. Of those looking to secure growth overseas, more than half (54%) were looking to invest in the EU – a significant increase in the proportion 18 months previously (47%). Similarly, European countries not in the EU featured high on the ranking list (31%).
Of those small businesses looking to do business overseas, 46% were looking to North America, and following the recent free-trade deal with Australia, 23% of small businesses looking overseas were considering opportunities down under.
The research showed that growing businesses were twice as likely to be considering overseas opportunities than non-growing businesses (66% vs 33%).
The easing of travel restrictions is welcome news for small businesses for so many reasons. As confidence levels continue to return, more and more plans that had been pushed back can now be given the green light. Confidence breeds confidence, and with this comes the ability for small businesses to plan beyond the pandemic to a five, 10 or 20 year horizon. We're gearing up to help small businesses rebuild, to invest in growth and to fulfil their true potential.
Percentage of small business that see growth opportunities overseas and key regions they are focusing on
Net % that see growth opportunities overseas
The EU, not including the UK
European countries, not in the EU
Australia & New Zealand
Japan, East Asia & the Pacific
India & Southern Asia