Over a third of British SMEs have grown since 2013

A new study has seen the strong growth achieved within the SME sector over the last two years and, more specifically, in the number of high growth SMEs within Great Britain.

The research shows that Britain is closing the scale up gap, as identified in a 2014 industry report by Sherry Coutu, with more start-ups scaling into large companies. The same report defined a ‘Scale up’ business as having 10 or more employees and recording average annual growth in revenue or employees of at least 20 percent over three consecutive years.

According to the Citrix and YouGov research, one tenth of all British businesses of this size have recorded average annual growth of more than 20 per cent over the last two years.

Citrix define these as ‘high growth’ businesses and estimates that of the 220,345 SMEs in Britain with 10 or more employees, 23,000 are high growth companies. These high growth businesses drive economic growth at faster rates, create more jobs, and ensure longer term productivity.

Looking at all SMEs, regardless of size, the research shows a clear link between investment in technology and growth. Those SMEs that grew by 50 per cent or more over the last two years were four times more likely to have spent “much more” on technology in 2014 than they did in 2013 than those that stayed the same size or decreased.

The study also highlights how technology is helping British SMEs to overcome potential barriers to scaling up a business. These barriers include finding the right talent, sourcing suitable business locations and expanding into new markets.

The extent to which British SMEs, as a whole, are focused on international markets was demonstrated by 2014 research by Citrix and YouGov, which found that 60 per cent of SMEs surveyed expected to be doing business internationally in mid-2016.

The same research found 28 per cent expect revenue from international sales to increase and nearly three quarters of those trading internationally say international business partners will be important to their business – all by mid-2016.

Andrew Millard, Senior Director, International Marketing at Citrix, says the results are promising for the UK economy.

“SMEs are a critical engine of growth for the UK economy and this study illustrates the vibrancy within the sector over the last two years.”

“Technology is clearly playing an important role in SMEs overcoming some of the traditional barriers to growth and digital competency is becoming the new currency of growth. We hear on a daily basis how our customers are using technology to reinvent not only the way they work but the markets that they operate in.”