“For the UK economy to thrive, we need a strong SME network…”
The outcome of the EU Referendum has affected the confidence of Scottish SMEs much more than their English counterparts, according to a new study by energy supplier Opus Energy. But despite this, 87% are still expecting to grow this year.
According to the research, more than a quarter (26%) of Scottish SMEs expect to grow by between 5 and 10%, while nearly a fifth expect to grow by between 11 and 20%.
It also found that Scotland is feeling more negative since the referendum than its English peers, with only 9% feeling more confident about their business since the referendum, compared with 26% in London.
Other findings include:
22% are feeling somewhat less confident, compared with 14% in London
35% of Scottish SMEs want to exploit new markets in the next two years
17% are looking for a more skilled workforce to boost their business
13% are looking to diversify
30% see economic uncertainty as the biggest barrier to their business growth
26% see competition as their biggest barrier
17% see cashflow as their biggest barrier
39% think there are no barriers to business growth
Louise Boland, managing director of Opus Energy, said:“It’s great to see SMEs forecasting such a bright future, as they are the lifeblood of the UK. For many SMEs, getting on with business as usual is of utmost importance, and it’s refreshing to see such optimism during a time of great political uncertainty.
“Businesses will always encounter barriers, as each business is exposed to different risks that can affect growth – be that social, political or economic. While it’s fantastic to see that some businesses foresee no barriers, it’s helpful to identify what road blocks SMEs are encountering, as it means helpful measures can be put in place to help counteract their concerns.
“For the UK economy to thrive, we need a strong SME network, so we hope our report demonstrates current SME sentiment and can provide the solutions many are looking for to help them reach their next step of their evolution.”