Scottish entrepreneurs turn to overseas markets

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SCOTLAND’S entrepreneurs are increasingly turning their attention overseas in the search for opportunities, according to new research.

More than half of entrepreneurial businesses already export or have plans to do so, and their appetite for selling overseas is greater than the UK average.

Of those surveyed in the annual Entrepreneurship UK report, 34 per cent of Scottish entrepreneurs export to emerging markets, against 30 per cent across the UK. A further 40 per cent of Scots are planning to do so, compared with just 29 per cent across the UK.

There are similar disparities for traditional markets, with half of Scots selling into these sectors against 45 per cent of UK firms.

The research, conducted by business advisory firm Deloitte, also revealed that these firms need support, not least from government, to help control costs and boost employment.

Mike McGregor, head of entrepreneurial business at Deloitte in Scotland, said: “Entrepreneurial businesses are at the heart of Scotland’s economy and have the potential to move the country away from the alternating periods of recession and slow growth that have marked the last five years.

“Increasing revenues from international markets will be a critical element in securing strong, sustainable growth but they will need support and encouragement from government to fulfil their potential. Measures including tangible support to aid international expansion and a national insurance break to encourage recruitment would provide a welcome boost.”

One of the biggest challenges facing Scottish entrepreneurs is finding the development capital required to take on new markets. Only 9 per cent see banks as the most likely source of finance to grow their business.

Meanwhile, a record amount of entrepreneurial businesses (53 per cent) are relying on cash they generate themselves to fund expansion.