Small Business Saturday: small firms risk missing out on extra revenue

Ahead of Small Business Saturday, an assembly of e-commerce experts, known as the E-Commerce Trade Commission (E-CTC), is advocating for enhanced support for small retailers to expand their growth through exports.

The E-CTC, which includes major e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify, and Etsy, collaborates with the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). According to an E-CTC report, small businesses engaging in online international sales can potentially increase their annual revenues by £100,000 to £950,000.

However, during its first evidence session last month, small business representatives expressed concerns that existing resources and guidance fall short in aiding growth through online exporting. They highlighted challenges such as difficulty in accessing human support and finding critical information like obtaining an Import One Stop Shop number, necessary for selling products into the EU.

Established in June 2023 and led by Marco Forgione, Director General at the Institute of Export & International Trade, the E-CTC aims to motivate 70,000 more small British businesses to export online by 2025. This initiative is expected to contribute £9.3bn to the economy. The commission's objective is to enhance knowledge and understanding of international trade and to assist the government in formulating policies to overcome the current barriers faced by small firms.

Marco Forgione, Chair of the E-Commerce Trade Commission, emphasised the need to address the concerns of small business owners: “Small business owners in the UK have told us that they are struggling to find the support they need. These are businesses which want to grow by expanding into new markets, and who want to take advantage of the new free trade deals the UK has been securing. Clear information and ease of access to educational support – both online and in-person – are crucial yet simple steps we can take to help our small businesses thrive.

“The UK’s small business sector is a source of immense pride for the country – we are a nation of entrepreneurs. Utilising e-commerce to sell the best of British goods around the world can boost small retailers’ revenue by hundreds of thousands of pounds. Britain’s small shops are the backbone of our high streets up and down the country and e-commerce can now help them unleash their international growth potential. I’m excited by the prospect of platforms and policymakers coming together to help our small firms achieve this.”