Although the news this week has been dominated by yesterday’s General Election, it’s been an eventful week in business.
Amidst the volatility of the sterling, it was announced that the UK has fallen to the bottom to the EU in terms of economic growth. Recent figures show Britain to have been the worst-performing member of the European Union in the first quarter of the year, growing by just 0.2%.
What’s more, this does not look set to improve any time soon: the UK’s growth is not expected to increase at all next year. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the uncertainty caused by Brexit, is projected “to undermine spending, in particular investment”. Although the OECD pushed up many forecasts for other countries next year, it kept the UK’s prediction constant. This could mean trouble for small businesses seeking start-up capital over the next few months, as banks and investors may become more risk-averse.
There has been welcome news for small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) seeking to sell their goods and services abroad, as recent research from eBay shows that there has been an increase in the number of overseas consumers looking to buy British. Despite the fluctuating business climate, it seems that Brand Britain is stronger than ever, with a quarter of SMMEs saying they’ve experienced an uptick in demand for their goods and services compared with a year ago. This optimism means 10% of SMMEs are now planning on entering new markets as part of their growth strategies.
Are your employees’ IT skills holding you back from continued growth? A recent survey suggests this is the case for a surprisingly high number of small businesses in the UK. A survey of over 1,250 IT staff UK found that British employees are most likely to require IT assistance, and are on the whole less digitally savvy than their counterparts on the continent. Several leading figures in the industry believe there to be a serious digital skills gap.
However, it seems that SMMEs based in London are less likely to be affected by this issue: 55 per cent of London respondents highlighted the digital skills gap as a key issue, compared to 74 per cent nationally. To find out more about how your business can make better use of the digital economy to boost brand awareness and sales, read our latest blog post.
If you have any questions or would like further information about the range of support on offer in the Building Legacies Programme, please contact Danny Hackett on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office on 020 7537 6480.