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Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023: Celebrating High Growth Conference Northwest

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

According to data from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank, there were over 400 million SMEs worldwide in 2018. However, these figures may have changed since then.

The exact number can vary, and it's essential to consider that the SME landscape is dynamic, with new businesses forming and others closing.

For the latest and specific data on the number of small businesses in the UK, you may want to check official statistics provided by government agencies such as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) or other reliable business and economic research organizations such as Statista.

Relative to their weight in the economy and share of employment, SMEs account for only a small proportion of exports (OECD-WB 2015). In most OECD economies, SMEs account for upwards of 95% of all firms, around two-thirds of total employment, and over half of business sector value-added, but their contribution to overall exports is significantly lower – between 20% to 40% for most OECD economies. In most economies, more than 90% of large industrial firms’ export, compared to 10%-25% of SMEs.


Trade and global value chains (GVCs) create opportunities for SMEs to absorb spill overs of technology and managerial knowledge, broaden and deepen their skillsets, innovate, scale up, and enhance productivity (Lileeva and Trefler 2010; Caliendo and Rossi-Hansberg 2012; Wagner 2012; OECD 2018). International exposure, whether through imports, exports, or foreign direct investment (FDI), frequently goes hand in hand with higher productivity and can be an important driver of employment growth (Wagner 2012). SMEs integrate GVCs as direct exporters (trading), upstream suppliers of exporting firms (supplying), or importers of foreign inputs and technologies (sourcing).


SME’s can also partner with multinationals (partnering) or become multinationals themselves (investing) (OECD 2018). The type of SME engagement in GVCs also varies across types and sectors of activity, such as manufacturing and services.

The rise of global value chains (GVCs) and the digital transformation offer new opportunities for SMEs to integrate into the global economy.

Greater flexibility and the capacity to customise and differentiate products can give SMEs a competitive advantage in global markets, as they are able to respond rapidly to changing market conditions and shorter product life cycles (OECD 2018).

BforB International is amongst SME’s looking to export our British born services and hope to become part of the Global Value Chain and create opportunities globally for its members and stake holders.





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