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Date: 28/05/2015

More than half of small businesses in Hereford and Worcester are missing out on growth opportunities by limiting themselves to domestic markets.

  • 50 per cent of firms that are exporting are planning to create local jobs in the next two years.
  • Small businesses call for external support to help fulfil their growth ambitions.
Businesses in Hereford and Worcester are failing to recognise the growth opportunities offered by trading internationally, while those already exporting are reaping the benefits, according to new research by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

More than half (56 per cent) of attendees at the bank’s ‘Backing You Ambition’ event, held at the Malvern College Sports Complex on the 23rd April, said they aren’t currently exporting. But 52 per cent of business leaders already trading internationally are expecting to create jobs locally, with a third (33 per cent) expecting to create up to ten new jobs in the next two years.

For almost a third (30 per cent) of small businesses in Hereford and Worcester, the Eurozone is their biggest target export market, despite its recent instability, while a smaller number concentrate their efforts further afield, with 15 per cent and four per cent trading with Asia and North America respectively.

More support needed for small firms looking to export

A third (33 per cent) of those surveyed said that exporting has always been a part of their expansion plans, but many say they need external support to realise those ambitions.

Top of the areas where guidance is required is financial support (33 per cent), followed by  regulatory information (30 per cent).

Rupert Harris, senior manager, SME Banking at Lloyds Banking Commercial Banking in Hereford and Worcester, said: “While a good proportion of local firms are already trading internationally, many are missing the opportunities that lie in foreign markets.

“Considering the rate of change the economy is experiencing, in today’s competitive global marketplace it is increasingly important for small firms to expand their horizons and actively seek out new opportunities overseas to avoid getting left behind.

“Realising the full potential of international trade needs preparation and planning, especially if you’re starting to export for the first time.

“As with any business investment, guidance from an experienced professional can be key to breaking into new markets successfully.”

The Hereford and Worcester Backing Your Ambition event was held at the Malvern College Sports Complex, where more than 80 business leaders gathered to discuss international trade opportunities.

Guests heard from Linda Smith, a representative from the Worcester branch of UK Trade & Investment, Anne Lockett, UK Export Finance and Guy Ralphs, bursar and clerk to the Council at Malvern College.