Based on recent data, and helped by a weak £, UK exports were at a record high in November 2016 (£47.3Bn). In the context of the Brexit/Trump era, I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad – Brexit hasn’t actually happened yet, and second guessing the nature of a US/UK trade deal is a little challenging right now.
I’ll avoid commenting on the politics, but there genuinely are many influential business people who believe that Brexit can build a new golden era for UK international trade. There many, probably more, who believe Brexit is calamitous from an export perspective.
It’s interesting digging into the figures a little more, given that my own interest is in the SME market:
Our biggest 3 exports are Cars (9.7%), Gold (7.9%) and Gas Turbines (3.2%) – hardly SME output.
UK is the 9th biggest export economy in the World – and about 45% of exports go to the EU.
Just 10% of SMEs export directly, and some 15% are in an export supply chain. According to a recent CEBR report, the UK ranks in the bottom 5 European Economies when it comes to the share of SMEs among exporters.
The Government does recognise that last point – in fact we all need to. The same CEBR report claimed that the current (weak) export performance of UK SMEs leaves a £141.3Bn shortfall in the UK economy. While I might take that claim with a pinch of salt, surely we can help create an environment and support where we can do better than this? I suspect we will need to, whatever shape Brexit takes. Worth adding that the Government (Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade) is pitching 2017 as “The Year for Export”!
So, Informed Funding is doing its bit! If you are an SME already exporting or want to assess the opportunities, then make sure you come along to our Seminar on 23 February at Workspace’s Kennington Park centre – we are running a range of Workshops throughout the afternoon that will help on challenges such as financial support, creating an overseas channel, legal challenges, minimising risk, forex management and UK Government support. It will be a chance to meet lots of other business owners who are either exporting or thinking of doing so. In the evening, over drinks, you will get the chance to hear from representatives from the Department of International Trade, together with what should be fascinating talk fro, leading expert and commentator, Dr Rebecca Harding, titled “Can the UK ever replace its Trade with Europe”? We look forward to continuing this debate over a glass of wine (imported, almost certainly.).
Please book your place at “The Export Challenge: Profits and Cash Generation” by registering here.
Chris Dines is CEO of Informed Funding, who provide an independent, structured and educational route for business owners to find the type of finance and supplier that might suit them – allowing them to engage directly with those suppliers.
EFM are partners with Informed Funding and will be participating in export funding workshops at the Seminar on 23 February