New survey reveals
When it comes to exports and alternative finance, London SMEs are better aware of their options than businesses in other parts of the UK. However, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 businesses, there is much room for improvement when it comes to getting businesses exporting in the first place.
Responses to a survey on exports and business finance, commissioned by alternative finance provider Growth Street, suggest that half of SMEs in London don’t export any goods or services outside the UK. The same applies to just 30% of businesses from the UK as a whole, however.
Working capital can be vital for SMEs wanting to export, but just 42% of respondents from London say they have a good understanding of the finance that might be available outside the banks. Although more than 50% of respondents from London agreed that enough guidance is available to businesses looking to start exporting, the same was true for just 36% of respondents across the UK as a whole.
Commenting on Growth Street’s findings, CEO Greg Carter said:
“Many businesses we speak to say that banks have made it harder for them to access really flexible, tailored finance. With so many businesses having never looked outside their bank for funding, it’s clear there is more for finance providers to do to boost businesses’ understanding of the finance options available to them.
“With the Brexit process ongoing, I believe exports will be crucial for businesses looking to grow in the coming years. Liam Fox, Secretary for State of International Trade, has said the UK is ‘unlikely’ to meet its ambitious export target, despite fantastic global growth in recent years. I am optimistic that SMEs can help the UK achieve this target.
“In light of this, we see that businesses in London and beyond need more guidance on how to start exporting. I want SMEs to feel more comfortable looking outside their bank for funding: we now have a thriving, competitive alternative finance market in the UK.
“There is huge untapped potential for SMEs in London. I hope that as the UK renegotiates its trading relationships in the coming months and years, banks and other finance providers can help these ambitious, growing businesses to take advantage of new opportunities.”