Edited by Léo-Paul Dana
Leigh Sear and Robert T. Hamilton This chapter is about the way entrepreneurs in England are supported into and through the process of exporting. We are concerned primarily to document the ‘supply side’, that is, the nature and coverage of the available support, and then to assess the appropriateness of this against the needs of the internationalizing entrepreneur. It should be noted that the research ﬁndings drawn upon in this chapter relate speciﬁcally to England, the country that accounted for 87% of all VAT-registered business in Great Britain at the beginning of 2002. In addition, there is a diﬀerent conﬁguration of provision to support international activity in Wales and Scotland, in terms both of organizations and of the way in which support is delivered. Similarly Ireland has a more distinctive set of initiatives that are covered elsewhere in this volume. There is a wealth of evidence within the academic literature and government statistics that demonstrate that exporting is the predominant mode by which SMEs engage with international markets and trading. Since the mid1990s, there has been a great deal of debate around the exporting activities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in both a regional and a national context. A brief review of the academic and practitioner literature highlights a number of perceived beneﬁts to ﬁrms from exporting. These include exposure to diﬀering ways of doing business (Barclays Bank, 1996), additional demand for the product or service of the business (Julien et al., 1997) and...
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