By Daniel Hunter

British businesses believe that the government needs to appoint a small business minister dedicated to supporting business growth internationally, as the competition for contracts from abroad increases, according to a survey conducted by blur Group.

Concern about overseas competition is high, with 74% of respondents believing international competition is increasing, yet just 8% of respondents believe that the government is doing enough to help them, with 48% saying outright it is not doing enough.

Of further concern is the 44% who said they don’t actually know what the government is doing to support small businesses expand internationally — if anything is being done, the government is keeping it well under the radar.

The independent survey showed that far from helping small UK businesses expand abroad, the government is actually a hindrance — with 35% citing its lack of support as the biggest challenge facing them when it comes to international expansion. Indeed, 52% of respondents couldn’t say which political parties were doing what to address the situation.

Small business networks were seen as the most supportive body helping the drive across borders, with 25% citing such; with the government cited by just 5% of the survey sample. This demonstrates the peer-to-peer element of small business networking which is helping them thrive, but also shows how large enterprises and government needs to do more by supporting SMEs through mentoring, or by engaging with them more on international contracts and expansion opportunities.

When questioned whether a small business minister needed appointing to specifically support the growth of SMEs internationally, 66% of respondents said such an appointment is necessary — a clear call to action for the government.

Philip Letts, blur Group CEO commented: “blur Group is dedicated to helping small businesses compete on a global scale. These independent findings demonstrate a very definite call to arms from the UK small business communities. The government MUST be doing more to support the growth of SMEs across international borders, or they will fall by the wayside. We have a thriving SME industry in the UK, one we should be proud of, but the government is letting them all down if it doesn’t give them platforms for growth.

“Our Global Services Exchange allows companies to source and work with experts from all over the world — with the right supplier for the right job regardless of geography. A dedicated small business minister for international growth will address this need further, and provide the much needed foot up for businesses to move into new territories successfully.”

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