UK businesses already looking beyond EU to boost growth

By Ryan Weeks on Wednesday 9 May 2018

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According to new data for Q1, seven of the top ten regions in which UK SME payment volumes increased are located outside of the EU.

UK businesses already looking beyond EU to boost growth
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International payments firm WorldFirst has unveiled new data for the first quarter of 2018 showing an uptick in overseas trade by UK SMEs. The latest quarterly Global Trade Barometer shows that, of the c. 1,000 SMEs surveyed, one in four is looking to export to a new country in the next quarter.

This represents a slight increase in ambition versus the first quarter of 2017, based on data previously harvested by the Barometer. WorldFirst sees this as a sign that business owners are at last starting to come to terms with Brexit uncertainty.

Tellingly, of the ten markets that saw the greatest growth in payments from UK SMEs in the first quarter of this year, seven are outside of the EU. These include: Turkey, Norway, Morocco, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia and the UAE.

Based on the results of the survey, carried out by YouGov Plc, World First also claimed that many small businesses are now turning to alternative methods of supporting their overseas activities – often within the fintech sector.

A mere 9 per cent of firms have or are considering switching from their bank to a fintech provider for their FX transfer needs. On the other hand, just 22 per cent have no plan whatsoever for considering a new way of handling their international finances.

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at WorldFirst, said it was promising to see so many businesses pushing past the ‘Brexit blues’.

“These SMEs will be our global exporting pioneers post-Brexit and it is vital that the Government and wider industry does all they can to support them,” he said.

“This could mean anything from facilitating connections between UK small businesses and foreign counterparts, to offering advice and training on how to do business and communicate with international trading partners.”


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