This paper is intended as an investigation into what prevents South African manufacturing SME’s from contributing more to South Africa’s export performance. To this end a literature review was conducted to, among others, identify barriers to exports faced by manufacturing SME’s contained in existing literature. A number of core groupings were identified. Empirical research was then conducted by telephonically interviewing 499 manufacturing SME’s to gain insight into prevalence of exporters, interested nonexporters and not interested non-exporters. Exporting respondents were asked what their biggest export facilitating factor was, and what the one thing was they felt each of the government and third party facilitators could do to assist in the export process. Non-exporting respondents were further asked for reasons for not exporting (if they wanted to export) as well as reasons for not wanting to export, as the case may be. Strong demographic differences emerged between exporters, interested nonexporters and not interested non-exporters. A number of factors emerged as to barriers and facilitators to exports and how the government and third party facilitators might assist in the export process. These insights could be used to tailor export promotion initiatives.