Online retail giant Amazon has says UK SMEs selling on its Marketplace achieved record export sales of £2.3 billion last year.
It says more than 85,000 people are employed in the UK to run the sales activities of businesses selling on the platform.
Amazon has also announced the launch of its new 2018 Academy programme designed to help boost SME exports within the UK this year.
Run in association with Enterprise Nation, the Amazon Academy programme is a series of free events across the UK which provide advice to help SMEs succeed in the digital economy, in particular by growing their export sales.
This year there will be Amazon Academies in Glasgow, Newcastle and Cardiff, following previous events in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham which were attended by more than 1,200 SMEs and entrepreneurs.
The Secretary of State International Trade, Liam Fox, said: “The growth in SME exports on sites such as Amazon shows what can be achieved, and I welcome the company’s commitments to help more small companies go digital so they can grow their businesses and create jobs up and down the country.”
Around 60% of UK-based businesses selling on Amazon Marketplace now export abroad, with half of all sales on the retailer’s global sites coming from smaller, independent businesses.
Doug Gurr, UK country manager for Amazon, said: “We are seeing a record number of British SMEs selling their products across Europe, North America, Japan, China and India, opening themselves to millions of additional potential customers through the power of the internet.” said Doug Gurr, UK country manager, Amazon.
“Through programmes like the Amazon Academy, we want to help small businesses grow their revenue, increase their productivity and boost exports, to help build a stronger economy and create more jobs in the UK.”