European business leaders continue to pursue growth opportunities abroad, according to new research from European Business Awards and RSM International, one of the world’s largest audit, tax and consulting networks. Over two-thirds of European businesses plan to enter new markets in the next year despite the difficult post-recession climate.

Four out of five businesses plan to enter at least one new market in the next 12 months, while only 16% do not plan on pursuing any new market opportunities.  A further sign that European companies are looking for genuine growth rather than savings is that 77% say that their primary motive for expanding their business abroad is potential market size, rather than low labour or taxation costs.

The study was carried out in October by the European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM International, and surveyed over 300 business leaders from across 32 European countries. Respondents ranged from CEOs of large multinational companies to SMEs, across various industries from manufacturing to financial services.

Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM International, said, “The research shows encouraging signs of recovery in international business, as more and more European business leaders are using  their entrepreneurial spirit and moving into new markets at a time when it is very challenging to do so. RSM International’s member firms are positioned to help such businesses succeed in their expansion plans.”

Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards, added: “Engaging with over 15,000 businesses in this year’s Awards programme, representing a combined turnover of €1 trillion and employing over 2.7 million people, the survey reveals that the trend amongst successful businesses is about trading beyond your borders. Almost half of businesses agree that intra-European trade offers them the best opportunities. It’s imperative that in these times of political and economical turmoil, European businesses can explore how to take on international markets and build upon trade corridors. Our role at the European Business Awards is to spotlight those achievements.”

RSM International is a founding sponsor of the European Business Awards, an independent awards programme designed to recognise and promote excellence. The winners will be announced in Barcelona on 22nd November.