Wales is not good at exporting

Wales is sadly lacking in the export department, according to statistics in the December 2010 report produced by Barclays and Kingston University Small Business Research Centre.   The latest figures indicated that not only have exports fallen off dramatically over the past year, but also only a handful (about 1%) of SME’s have any plans to begin exporting this year.  In the 12 months to September 2010, Welsh exports dropped by more than 62%, or almost £600 million.  The overall export figures for the U.K., however, showed an increase of more than 12% over the same time period.

At present it seems that small businesses in Wales are not getting the support and encouragement that is needed to make exporting their products an achievable goal.

The Welsh Assembly has initiated a Flexible Support for Business plan, but it appears that business owners are not taking advantage of the information available to them, and not moving to seize the opportunities that the authors of the study say are definitely out there.

Of the Welsh SME’s that are involved in exporting, the report says that the majority only got into it because of customer inquiries and requests from countries abroad; they are not taking the initiative to locate and correspond with new customers.  The reasons for this hesitation vary, but they include the lack of time and expertise to put together a workable plan, as well as the language barrier that makes person-to-person interaction more difficult.   SME owner/managers are also accused of being “set in their ways” and unwilling to take a chance on disrupting service to their domestic customers.