Research shows SMEs in the dark on exports

By Ryan Weeks on Wednesday 28 February 2018

Alternative Lending

A wall of ignorance may hamper the government’s plans of building a truly global Britain post-Brexit.

A wall of ignorance may hamper the government’s plans of building a truly global Britain post-Brexit.

New research from alternative finance firm Growth Street shows that most SMEs are unaware of how to begin exporting goods and services.

Of the 1,100 UK businesses surveyed, 65 per cent said that they were unhappy with official guidance on how to begin exporting.

Meanwhile, 70 per cent have never looked beyond their bank in search of funding. External funding is often necessary for a small business to begin exporting. Less than a quarter of the surveyed businesses had a sound understand of alternative financing options.

Growth Street seems to think the government is unlikely to hit its target of £1 trillion in exports by 2020. The platform’s CEO Greg Carter has issued a call for more attention to be paid to small businesses if the dream of a globally active post-Brexit Britain is to be realised.

"Despite much talk about the potential to increase exports in a post Brexit Britain, our research shows that businesses have been let down by the government to date,” he said.

“Something has to change if British businesses are going to take advantage of a future outside the EU.”

Growth Street is a peer-to-peer lender specialising in flexible overdrafts for small businesses. Founded in 2015, the platform hit £100m of total funds disbursed last year, after opening to individual investors in late 2016.

This is not its first foray into government lobbying. During his tenure, former Growth Street CEO James Sherwin-Smith led a vociferous campaign to make APRs the standard form of disclosure in small business finance. Carter replaced Sherwin-Smith as CEO in April of last year.

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