SME Export Track 100 - Fast Track

Feb 26, 2017 - products such as the Hush wing-back ... and online marketplaces such as ..... Designer brands wholesaler ...... buy — to create value for money ...
1MB Sizes 0 Downloads 215 Views

SME Export Track 100 Headline sponsor Main sponsors


Researched and compiled by FAST TRACK

UK’s global push pulls in old friends Britain’s fastest-growing small and mediumsized exporters say they are making hay in familiar markets, reports Richard Tyler


urope and North America have increased in importance as markets for Britain’s fastestgrowing small exporters, according to the latest research by Fast Track. The number of companies focusing their efforts on customers in Europe has edged up to 85 companies, from 80 last year. More of the companies, 77 versus 71, are also targeting North America, with Asia seeing a decline as a main market, from 45 companies to 37. The findings from the third annual Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100 illustrate how closely connected Britain’s export drive is with trading partners across both the Atlantic and the English Channel. In a poll of the featured companies, 70% of those responding said Britain’s vote last June to leave the EU had, on balance, not affected them. A further 17% said it had been bad for business, citing regulatory uncertainty, and difficulties hiring and retaining European staff. The remaining 13% said they had benefited, for instance from favourable exchange rates. The results follow a stream of recent positive economic data showing UK companies expanding and remaining upbeat about their prospects. Manufacturers, in particular, have said they have strong order books, although for some the gain in sales has been offset by rising

FAST TRACK SME Export Track 100 ranks the UK’s private small and medium-sized companies with the fastest growing international sales. It is produced by Fast Track, which researches Britain’s top-performing private companies and organises invitation-only dinners for owners and directors to network and meet sponsors. For full ranking criteria, see page 2 follow us @ST_SMEexport Awards car partner

raw materials costs. Half the companies featured this year are manufacturers, either making goods directly (38) or outsourcing their designs to third parties (12). Firms such as Kent Brushes (No 87), founded in 1777, appear alongside new firms such as this year’s No 1 company, Naughtone, which makes contemporary modern furniture at its Yorkshire factory. Consumer goods firms are most prevalent, with 23, followed by 15 engineers, such as Clyde Space (No 58), which exports the small satellites it designs and makes at its base in Glasgow. Their growth is impressive: overseas sales are up by 72% a year, on average, lifting combined international sales from £273m to £677m over the past three years. The firms have taken on 3,000 new staff and now employ 8,000. Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, says: “As the SME Export Track 100 shows, small businesses are the driving force behind the UK’s export growth, and we are committed to helping more companies go global.” Different strategies have been used to increase overseas growth. In addition to acquisitions, over a third (35) work with distributors. Trade fairs, such as today’s Gulfood in Dubai, which will host more than 90,000 visitors from over 160 countries, have proven fruitful places to build such relationships. Sixteen have invested substantially in their ecommerce and social media platforms, as Ian Wilson from DHL Express explores on page 4. Entrepreneurs remain at the helm and own more than half the companies, while the stock of private equity and venture capital-owned firms has dropped from 21 last year to 13 this year, in part due to our new rule for the companies to be in profit. The southeast of England is the most popular location for company HQs, at 23, followed by London, at 21, but fastgrowing exporters are active UK-wide, with 10 based in the Midlands and 9 in Scotland, as Heathrow’s Emma Gilthorpe notes on page 2. As the direction of travel for Britain’s post-Brexit trading relations becomes clearer in the coming months, these 100 companies will provide the