Scottish small businesses 'least international in UK' - new research

Scottish small businesses are the least international in the UK with the big banks partly to blame, a survey by an alternative money transfer provider suggests.

The research found that just over a quarter (27 per cent) of Scotland’s MSMBs operate internationally. This was below the UK average of 35 per cent and the global average of 46 per cent. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
The research found that just over a quarter (27 per cent) of Scotland’s MSMBs operate internationally. This was below the UK average of 35 per cent and the global average of 46 per cent. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The research, which saw YouGov poll almost 5,000 MSMBs (micro, small and medium-sized businesses) worldwide for Wise Business, found that just over a quarter (27 per cent) of Scotland’s MSMBs operate internationally. This was below the UK average of 35 per cent and the global average of 46 per cent.

When asked why they were not trading globally, Scotland’s small businesses cited a range of factors. Some 10 per cent cited international banking as a deterrent to heading overseas - with respondents citing issues with managing multiple currencies, as well as the time and cost of banking across borders.

Import tariffs was the most cited factor (12 per cent), while supply chain disruption (10 per cent) and a lack of access to capital and resources (10 per cent) were also to blame.

Clara Nobre, head of business product at Wise, which processes more than £6 billion in cross-border transactions every month, said: “Scotland has some of the most respected brands in the world but there are so many other businesses that are yet to be known to the world. While some barriers are unavoidable or too large to fix, the hassles of international banking are solvable.

“For too long, banks and traditional providers have offered services that are slow, expensive and lacking in transparency. Red tape makes matters worse - with businesses often forced to open bank accounts in local countries, for instance.”

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