07 Apr 2023
by Sarabjit Singh

UK Tech SMEs: A Global Force to Be Reckoned With | #techUKDigitalTrade

UK tech SMEs are a vital part of the UK economy. In 2021, the digital sector contributed £182.1 billion to the UK economy, and is more than the contribution of the automotive, aerospace, and chemicals sectors combined. Out of this, SMEs contributed £101.7 billion, which is 56% of the total contribution of the digital sector to the UK economy. They also account for over 50% of all private sector jobs in the UK; #techUKDigitalTrade

The UK is also the fourth largest global exporter of digital tech services, and ranked fourth (only behind the US, China, and India) for venture capital investment in tech companies.

Challenges faced by UK tech SMEs when exporting abroad 

Despite their success, UK tech SMEs face a number of challenges when exporting abroad. The challenges faced by UK tech SMEs include:

  • Regulatory barriers in specific countries. For example, the UK's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a challenge for UK tech companies that want to export to the EU.
  • Cultural differences. UK tech companies need to be aware of the cultural differences in the countries they are exporting to, in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
  • Lack of access to finance and trade. UK tech SMEs often find it difficult to get access to finance and trade, which can make it difficult for them to export their products and services.

Success stories of UK tech SMEs exporting abroad 

There are several reasons why UK tech SMEs are successful exporters. First, UK tech SMEs are often at the forefront of innovation. They are developing new and innovative products and services that are in demand around the world. Second, UK tech SMEs are well-connected to global markets. They have a strong network of partners and customers in other countries. Third, UK tech SMEs are supported by a number of government initiatives that help them to export their products and services.

TransferWise, Revolut, Improbable, TransferGo, Deliveroo, and Babylon Health are just a few examples of UK tech companies that have expanded internationally. These companies are using technology to disrupt their respective industries, providing new and innovative services that are making their products and services more accessible and affordable. Their success is helping to promote the UK as a global leader in technology.

Initiatives launched by the UK government to support UK tech SMEs in their global expansion efforts 

To maximise global potential for UK tech SMEs, the UK government has launched a new digital strategy that aims to make the UK a global tech superpower. The strategy aims to create a supportive environment for tech businesses to grow and thrive, with a focus on skills, innovation, and infrastructure.

The UK government has also launched a number of initiatives to support UK tech SMEs in exporting abroad. These initiatives include:

  • The Exporting is GREAT campaign: This campaign provides support and advice to UK businesses looking to export their products and services.
  • The Department for International Trade (DIT): The DIT offers a range of services to help UK businesses identify and enter new markets, including market research, trade missions, and access to funding and finance.
  • The British Business Bank: The British Business Bank provides a range of financial and non-financial support to UK businesses, including tech SMEs.
  • Innovate UK: Innovate UK is a government agency that provides funding and support for innovation in the UK.
  • UK Trade & Investment (UKTI): UKTI is a government body that helps UK businesses to succeed in international markets.

UK tech SMEs should take advantage of the support available to them from the UK government and other organisations. The government and these organisations are committed to helping UK tech SMEs succeed, and the support they offer will provide them with the support they need to grow and thrive.


In conclusion, UK tech SMEs are a vital part of the UK economy. They are successful exporters, and they are supported by several government initiatives. UK tech SMEs should take advantage of the support available to them to grow their businesses and expand into new markets.

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Sarabjit Singh

Sarabjit Singh

Global Sales Director, Keysight Technologies