House of Lords
SELECT COMMITTEE ON SME EXPORTS
Call for Evidence
Deadline: Friday 14 September 2012
A new ad hoc Committee, chaired by Lord Cope of Berkeley, has been established by the House of Lords to examine what the Government is doing to assist and promote SME exports.
In May 2011, UK Trade and Investment, the Government export promotion body, unveiled their strategy.1 They stated that “succeeding in international markets” is essential to “rebuilding the economy at home in a balanced and sustainable way”. One year on, it is timely to assess the progress of UKTI and other Government bodies in promoting SME exports.
We are seeking answers, particularly from SMEs, to the questions below and any related matters. The submissions we receive will guide the Committee’s deliberations in oral evidence sessions which will take place later in the year and also inform the Committee’s final conclusions and recommendations when it reports in February 2013.
Are you an SME export success story?
The Committee want to understand why some SMEs have succeeded in exporting, why others have been less successful and why some have chosen not to sell overseas at all. We are, therefore, very interested to hear from individual SMEs which are able to provide an
example of any of these situations.
The Committee invites submissions on the following points and related issues (please provide practical examples and evidence to support the points that you make where possible and please also specify whether you are talking about SMEs in general, or micro, small or medium sized enterprises in particular). Submissions need not cover all the points listed below.
- What contribution do SMEs currently make to the export market (in products and services)
and in which countries and sectors (both directly and through the supply chain to larger
- What contribution could SMEs potentially make both now and in the future, and within
which markets and countries?
- How does the UK’s SME export performance compare to those in competitor countries?
What can the UK learn from their successes?
- What are the characteristics of successfully exporting SMEs? How do they differ from SMEs
that are not exporting?
- What are the perceived and real risks and opportunities to SMEs of exporting?
- What steps should SMEs that want to export take to prepare themselves to do so? What
role should Government play in supporting them?
- What are the key barriers and market failures (including regulatory, financial, operational,
and other barriers) that inhibit SMEs from beginning to export or to increase their export
efforts? How does this compare to the barriers experienced by larger companies? For
example, how significant are foreign languages and customs as barriers to SMEs exporting?
How can Government help SMEs overcome the barriers and market failures?
- What are the key factors to encouraging SMEs:
- which already export, to sell more overseas; or
- which do not currently export, to start doing so?
- For example, how have developments in information technology influenced the performance
of SMEs and their capacity to compete internationally for trade and investment?
- How effective are the Government’s current policy mechanisms in supporting SMEs to
export at the UK and EU level? What are the most effective, what are the least effective
mechanisms and when might they act as a barrier to exporting?
- What more should Government be doing to assist or promote the export of products and
services by SMEs through different departments and agencies? Are the Government able to
provide adequate local intelligence to assist SMEs in understanding foreign markets?
- How should Government act and behave with regard to SME exports?
- Should the Government target specific sectors, markets or types of companies where the
potential is thought to be greatest? What are the costs and benefits of such an approach?
- Is there sufficient co-ordination of actions and awareness across Government and other
bodies? How should other bodies be acting?
Written submissions should be provided to the Committee as a Microsoft Word document and sent by e-mail to email@example.com. Please do not submit PDFs (if you do not have access to Microsoft Word you may submit in another editable electronic form). If you do not have access to a computer you may submit a paper copy to Christine Salmon Percival, Clerk, Select Committee on SME Exports, Committee Office, House of Lords,
London SW1A 0PW, fax 020 7219 4931. The deadline for written evidence is 14 September 2012.
Short, concise submissions, of no more than six pages, are preferred. A longer submission should include a one-page summary. Paragraphs should be numbered. Submissions should be dated, with a note of the author’s name, and of whether the author is acting on an individual or corporate basis. All submissions will be acknowledged promptly.
Personal contact details supplied to the Committee will be removed from submissions before publication but will be retained by the Committee staff for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, such as seeking additional information.
Submissions become the property of the Committee which will decide whether to accept them as evidence. Evidence may be published by the Committee at any stage. It will normally appear on the Committee’s website and will be deposited in the Parliamentary Archives.
Once you have received acknowledgement that your submission has been accepted as evidence, you may publicise or publish it yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. If you publish your evidence separately, you should be
aware that you will be legally responsible for its content.
You should be careful not to comment on individual cases currently before a court of law, or matters in respect of which court proceedings are imminent. If you anticipate such issues arising, you should discuss with the Clerk of the Committee how this might affect your
Certain individuals and organisations may be invited to appear in person before the Committee to give oral evidence. Oral evidence is usually given in public at Westminster and broadcast in audio and online. Persons invited to give oral evidence will be notified
separately of the procedure to be followed and the topics likely to be discussed.
Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the Clerk or the Chairman of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.
This is a public call for evidence. Please bring it to the attention of other groups and individuals who may not have received a copy direct.
You may follow the progress of the inquiry at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/small-medium-