From the June Brexit vote to the resulting sharp devaluation of the pound, 2016 certainly wasn’t plain sailing for businesses across the UK. Yet, while the drop in the value of sterling proved a real obstacle for some, it simultaneously unlocked exciting new opportunities for SMEs. With the value of British goods suddenly significantly cheaper to markets abroad and the UK government setting up new schemes to support SMEs, there has never been a better time to begin or ramp-up exports.

According to the UK Government’s Exporting is Great initiative, 85 percent of companies report that exporting has led to levels of growth in their business that wouldn’t have been otherwise possible. For those looking to capture these new opportunities as 2017 kicks into full swing, we highlight here three alternative markets worth considering. They rank in the top five (all above the UK) of our inaugural Best Places for Business in Europe index. Here are some need to know facts from the Department for International Trade:


With more than 100 noteworthy UK companies successfully operating here, from Tesco to Shell, Slovakia should top your list of countries worth considering this year. They take the top spot for business population growth in World First’s Index. In 2015, Slovakian businesses were created at a rate of over 40 per day, during which time just 5,904 businesses closed. Other benefits include: the use of English in business, being a part of the euro and of course it’s a great gateway to other eastern European markets.


With strong recognition of the UK brand and a fast-growing economy, Latvia is also one worth exploring. In our Business Index, the country ranks fourth for rates of corporation tax, making it one of the more cost effective markets to enter. Other reasons to consider exporting to Latvia include: a strong and open economy, a skilled labour force and a highly sophisticated consumer market.


Last, but certainly not least, take a look at Malta this year for untapped business potential. Second only to Ireland for GDP growth in our Index, Malta is a growing market. It also ranks highly for business population growth and its low levels of VAT could make your products and services particularly appealing. Gain access to the MENA markets in Malta without leaving the single currency.

Are you thinking of expanding your business abroad this year? Check out our  Best Places for Business in Europe index  for inspiration and to find out which other European countries came out on top.