Global Goldmine For UK Small Businesses
Most UK small businesses see the potential in global trade but lack awareness of the range of supporting initiatives.
National research with 3,600 UK entrepreneurs and small business owners reveals:
- 98% of UK small business owners unaware of initiatives that can facilitate overseas trade.
- 76% agree that global trading opportunities are significant.
- 93% believe it is tough to find foreign suppliers.
As UK entrepreneurs strive to beat the recession by building profitable businesses, research has revealed they could be stalling their success by not taking advantage of support available to help grow their operations globally.
According to a survey commissioned by Alibaba.com, the world’s largest online B2B marketplace for small businesses, 98% of respondents were unaware of any current initiatives to help UK businesses expand into overseas trade – despite the existence of schemes such as the UK Trade and Investment Global Entrepreneur Programme and help available from Business Link and other regional development agencies.
Given this apparent lack of awareness, it is unsurprising that just one in four (26%) entrepreneurs believe enough is being done to support the growth of UK SMEs in the current economy, when in fact they could be missing out on significant sums in possible revenue from potential overseas partners.
Andrew Cahn, CEO of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), comments:
“This is a wake-up call for British companies. Exports can transform the fortunes of a company by finding new markets for their products. At UK Trade & Investment, we want more firms to find out how they can achieve their export potential.”
Maggie Choo, Director, Alibaba.com EMEA, says,
“At Alibaba.com, we feel passionately about helping SMEs to achieve real success by exploring new opportunities to develop their business. While our research has shown that 76% of UK entrepreneurs recognise the advantages of importing lower cost goods from overseas partners, it also shows that the vast majority have little idea of how to go about forging business relationships with foreign partners or even who to approach for guidance.”
The research also revealed that 93% of those questioned by Alibaba.com believe it would be difficult to find foreign suppliers, while a further 40% thought it would take years of hard work in order to forge profitable relationships with them – a business myth Alibaba.com is keen to dispel.
“We now have more than 500,000 UK based users and are committed to helping them realise their potential and show them how easy it is to begin trading successfully on an international scale, no matter how large or small their organisation may be. By raising awareness of the help and guidance on offer from government schemes, regional development agencies and the Alibaba.com online community, we can show SMEs up and down the country how to grow their business ideas into long-term ventures with a profitable future.”
“The Alibaba.com platform provides a quick and easy route to overseas trade, as our trading platform has made the process simple and efficient enough for anyone to be able to start trading internationally. Even those who have never attempted to trade overseas before have found themselves building effective and profitable with partners from around the world in a mere matter of days through the Alibaba.com platform.”
Andrew Cahn of UKTI, adds:
"Ninety percent of our customers are SMEs and we helped them to generate £3.6bn in additional profit in the last 12 months. Look out for our ‘Take It To the World’ campaign and contact UKTI to find out about the real help on offer to access new markets."
UKTI also offers grants of up to £1,800 for businesses to take part in overseas tradeshows under its Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), helping to firms to get to overseas markets.
Founded ten years ago in China, Alibaba.com is the perfect platform for aspiring entrepreneurs and smart small businesses to discover profitable new opportunities for global trade. The company has grown rapidly in user base and now connects more than 45 million companies across 240 countries and regions worldwide, facilitating online trade between buyers and suppliers across the globe.