News in brief: productivity; 'killer instinct'; accountancy

News in brief
News in brief

Britain’s productivity falls behind due to untapped potential of SMEs

Britain's productivity is falling behind other economies because it is slower to turn ambitious smaller firms into exporters of innovative new products and services, according to a new report co-authored by Goldman Sachs, the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and the British Business Bank (BBB).

With more support, it is estimated that up to 110,000 small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could become regular exporters, adding an extra £1.15 billion in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy in the first year alone in the form of new and higher value jobs.

ERC Deputy Director and Programme Director for *10,000 Small Businesses *UK, Prof Mark Hart, who is based at Aston University, said: "Our research shows that there is huge untapped potential out there and that if we could build the confidence of innovative businesses that have high growth ambitions to start exporting regularly, we could generate an enormous boost to our economy.

"The challenge for those providing this support - whether government or the private sector - is to make sure it lands in the right places. A scattergun approach won't work, because only a relatively small proportion of firms combine a high-growth mindset with innovation and a capability to export."

Young entrepreneurs in the UK need a ‘killer instinct’

The so-called ‘Lost Generation’ of youngsters needs an injection of ‘killer instinct’ from entrepreneurs returning to the classroom to inspire the next generation during Global Entrepreneurship Week UK 2015. According to’s MD and founder of the Entrepreneurs4Schools programme, Will Davies,

it is alarming that young people in the UK currently lack that competitive edge. Davies visited his school, Beechwood Park in Hertfordshire as part of the scheme backed by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan MP.

“Technology is replacing jobs at a rapid rate of knots,” says Davies. “It really is survival of the fittest. We mustn’t kowtow to other nations, but instead use export and trade to steal advantage. Youngsters have to be vigilant, determined and prepared for the battle of business”.

Accountants and lawyers in the UK do not feel the need to expand overseas

Members of the UK200Group of accountancy and law firms, which reflect the views of their 150,000 SME clients, have voted at their annual conference on the importance of exports for UK SMEs.

Some 42% commented that they would accept orders from overseas, but they wouldn’t go looking for them. Meanwhile, 35% think that exports are an important source of business.

President of UK200Group Nick Willis said: “The members have voted and it is clear that although around a third think that exports are an important source of business, the majority voted that they would accept orders from overseas but wouldn’t actively seek them. This suggests that domestic trade is strong and sustainable for UK SMEs.”