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SMEs encouraged to trade internationally

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SMEs encouraged to trade internationally

Trading internationally is perceived by many as the sole preserve of major businesses, with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seen to have more modest ambitions and expectations.

However, this image could be on the way out after the UK government called on SMEs to try tapping into foreign markets.

This could lead to more businesses using money transfer companies and making the most of opportunities in places such as emerging economies.

Mark Prisk, the business and enterprise minister, believes this could also be a good way to drive an increase in Britain's gross domestic product.

"Giving businesses the confidence to trade abroad is vital to help boost growth in the economy," he observed.

Mr Prisk noted the government is adopting various approaches to get more SMEs operating outside the UK, such as creating an online register of advisers to help them protect their intellectual property.

In addition, he said an international attaché has been deployed in China in order to help firms from Britain with "enforcement issues".

Mr Prisk also stated that SMEs are getting further assistance from UK Export Finance, which has introduced "a range of financial support for businesses that want to export but can't obtain the finance they need through the normal commercial routes".

The minister added that UK Trade & Investment will work with the government to "give entrepreneurs the confidence to explore new markets and grow their business".

He was speaking at the Going Global: Helping small businesses trade abroad conference in Cambridge.

This comes after research by the Federation of Small Businesses found that 74 per cent of smaller ventures are keen to expand their client base over the next year, while many want to take on more staff and build a stronger presence on the internet.

However, a high proportion of respondents said economic conditions are putting the brakes on their plans to grow, while costly employment regulations are also proving to be a problem.

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