Give your small business (and UK Government) an international boost

In 2012, George Osbourne revealed his aim to double UK exports by 2020 but unfortunately, things have not been going according to plan.

According to the British Chamber of Commerce, exports increased by only 0.5% in 2012 and by 2.1% in 2013. This is thought to be down to businesses seeing branching out internationally as too large a risk.

However, expanding your business overseas could be extremely beneficial: it’s all about choosing the right market for your product and going in with a well thought-out strategy.

Let’s take a look at some of the world’s emerging markets. Perhaps one of them might fit the bill for your small business…


This vibrant nation is grabbing attention as the host country of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, both of which have called for a huge push in infrastructure development. Not only have these events boosted interest in British sporting goods, but the UK has also sold millions of pounds worth of contracts in oil and gas, Brazil’s largest sector of interest for British businesses.

One essential factor that must be considered when expanding to Brazil is the language barrier. Investment in translation and Portuguese speaking resources is vital when attempting to breach this market and will pay dividends for your business.


With a growing urban population, the Chinese market is experiencing novel demands which it might not have had just a few years ago. China has an appetite for Western goods such as food products, medicine and cosmetics and what’s more, consumers are often willing to pay more for the assurance of quality and safety associated with Western products. Additionally, online purchasing is a booming sector in China which could be used to your advantage.

However, the Chinese market is not particularly easy to enter so getting your professional ties and contacts right is absolutely critical.


Predicted to be the largest consumer market in Europe by 2020, Russia presents lucrative investment and export opportunities for UK businesses. When considering exporting to the Russian market, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The country spans nine time zones, has varying levels of development and a range of climates. However, it is receptive to UK businesses from more or less any sector, including engineering, chemicals, education, energy, telecommunications, and so on. Also, Russia is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018 for the first time which presents all manner of business opportunities for UK exporters!


India has one of the fastest-growing markets in the world with a young overall population and a desire for British-made products. Retail and IT services have been shown to do well in India, and the extreme poverty in the country creates a need for education services, electronics, healthcare services, clean energy solutions and pollution control equipment as well as many other beneficial services.

The key thing when trying to get your product noticed in India is to choose the location carefully. Larger cities are already familiar with many British exports so perhaps opt for a smaller city with less exposure to international companies so as to give your products a better chance of success.

Tips for exporting your business overseas

  • Do your research and know your market
  • Invest in translation and advertising
  • Secure reliable in-country contacts


This post was written by Annie Smith, our summer intern & a student of French at Oxford University.