Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) that engage in international trade are more confident in the future of their businesses compared to those that don’t, a survey has found.
Facebook’s Future of Business survey is a collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank, surveying nearly 200,000 SMEs in more than 40 countries in order to gain insights on the how they operate.
“Timely information on economic and business performance is crucial for both policymakers and businesspeople,” University of Stellenbosch bureau for economic research deputy director George Kershoff says.
“The surprisingly high response rates show businesses are keen to be part of the project and value it.”
The survey found that businesses that connect and learn from each other are more confident (45%), compared to 64% of businesses not feeling confident that are not learning from one another.
It also found that a supportive community can help businesses scale geographically.
Businesses that trade internationally learn from more sources and have a higher-than-average number of business-related educational interests.
They’re also three times more likely to cite educational interest in better information on international trade.
In the last year, SMEs say that their most important challenges are attracting customers (75%), increasing revenue (59%), and maintaining profitability (49%).
In terms of gender breakdown, almost half (48%) of SMEs reported that their teams were mainly male, 28% were mainly female, and 24% reported balanced teams.
Other highlights from the survey include: