New research by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) has revealed that 78% of small firms struggle to access support for exporting from the government.
According to the poll, those FSB members that do get access to government support find it effective. However, 33% of members say they find it difficult to access government support for exporting and a further 45% are unsure how to get help.
The survey also found that 23% of small firms export goods and services, with the most significant markets being for manufactured goods (55%) and services (37%). Yet, 26% of FSB members say that finding overseas customers is a challenge. Those who do export, however, are confident about the future with 36% expecting to see the value of their exported goods increase in the next three months.
The FSB is calling on the government to recognise that the needs of small firms are different to big businesses. John Allan, FSB national chairman, said: "It is vital that the UK's small firms receive the right support, not just their medium-sized or larger counterparts, and that it is maintained for the long term."
Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has also been lobbying the government to step up its support for small British exporters. At a Downing Street meeting this week, BCC representatives and a group of business leaders met the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to discuss ways to boost exports.
George Osborne said: "For decades Britain has not been exporting enough or investing enough, which is why I have taken continued action to reform our export regime, and provide the necessary incentives to get businesses investing."
John Longworth, BCC director general, said: "Britain's future success depends on a closer partnership between business and government. In turn, that partnership depends on Westminster and Whitehall listening to the aspirations and concerns of Britain's entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as the FTSE 100."