The British Export Boom and how to encourage it

Marcus Gibson, Head of Gibson Index, has produced a comprehensive index of small technology companies in the UK and found the 'Brexit Boom' is not only happening but accelerating.

The ERA Foundation welcomes CIVITAS’s latest report “Britain’s Export Boom and how to encourage it”.

The report, written by Marcus Gibson, Head of Gibson Index, explores the reality of Britains post-Brexit economy and argues a whole generation of organisations and individuals have been proved wrong as manufacturing experiences a revival after decades of government neglect and decline.

The report is the first comprehensive index of small technology companies in the UK post-Brexit and shows that the ‘Brexit Boom’ is not only happening but accelerating in the face of immense national and international disruptions in trade and travel paralysing various sectors following the coronavirus outbreak.

‘Brexit means Boom, not Doom’. Given the 10 Reasons listed in chapter 3, we believe the UK’s growing trade with non-EU countries will continue. Furthermore, the rise in exports is likely to accelerate at such a speed that it could make the UK the fifth largest exporter nation by 2024, up from its current 10th position.

Gibson charts this export revival to changes before the Brexit vote when tens of thousands of Britain’s smaller companies (SMEs) abandoned efforts to expand sales within the EU and moved their marketing firepower to countries beyond Europe.

Gibson argues convincingly that the strongest evidence behind the growing strength of the post-Brexit economy is the rise in the UK’s export volumes pioneered by the UK’s SMEs. The report suggests a number of low-cost programmes the government could implement to promote an increase in UK exports:

  • The creation of a Knowledge Commercial Partnership.
    These would work alongside the highly successful Knowledge Technology Partnership (KTP) scheme, in which graduates are parachuted into a SME.
  • An increase in the current Smart budget of £25m tenfold.
    The scheme only funds around 300 projects each year.
  • Restore an earlier recommendation so that high education students who start spinout companies should be allowed to offset against a student loan with the company shares they own if they gain significant value.
  • The Department for International Trade should increase the budget of trade show support
    This would enable thousands of SMEs and micro SMEs to exhibit at a key trade show.
  • Commercially focused universities should be funded to deliver professional Export Manager courses.
    Currently, less than 20% of UK-based SMEs currently export their goods and services.
    If the UK is to expand its export portfolio it must train at least 30,000 export managers a year.
  • Focus media attention on the successes of the UK SMEs and the great new export wave.

While current economic assessments present an uncertain future for the UK economy post-Cornavirus – torn between the belief that recovery will either be a ‘V-shaped’ bounce-back or the see the UK with long-lasting permanent damage – this report offers grounds for optimism in the recent track record of Britain’s smaller businesses and their extraordinary export revival.

In response to the report, Keith Robson, Executive Secretary of the ERA Foundation said, “The ERA Foundation believes very strongly that an innovation drive led by the UK’s fantastic network of SMEs will be an essential part of the UK’s success is a future post Brexit, post Covid-19 world. We are therefore delighted to see the strong support for such a drive expressed in the Civitas report”.

You can download the report from

Civitas facilitate informed public debate by providing accurate factual information on the social issues of the day, publishing informed comment and analysis, and bringing together leading protagonists in open discussion.