International trade and cooperation has become a key driver of small business success according to an in-depth and wide-ranging DHL Express study by IHS, the leading global source of information and analytics.

In an exacting economic environment, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have been presented with a challenge. A challenge to grow and increase the profitability of their businesses against a backdrop of often weak demand.

This report summarizes the results of research into the performance and competitiveness of SMEs in this business environment, with a specific focus on attempts by SMEs to "internationalize" their businesses and how this impacts on their growth. The research involves analysis of SMEs across 12 countries – the G7 and the BRIC economies with the addition of another emerging market, Mexico ("BRICM"). The report studies SMEs that have international operations, as well as "high-performing SMEs." Of particular interest is the overlap between these two groups – SMEs that have international operations and are high-performing – prompting the thought that trading internationally is itself a driver of performance.

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