More than seven in 10 small businesses describe themselves as confident about the UK business environment, despite economic uncertainty and worries over Brexit. A growth rate of 36% is anticipated in Newcastle among small businesses – that’s one finding of a new report released today by Square, which surveyed 1,200 small business owners nationwide.
The report created a ranking of cities based on their growth potential for small businesses, looking at regional differences including business confidence levels, growth expectations, technology adoption and infrastructure. Newcastle came fourth out of 15 UK cities just after Belfast, Nottingham and Cardiff who took the top three spots. The UK’s capital city, London, appeared 10th out of the 15 cities ranked.
Small businesses in Newcastle were confident overall, with 70% saying they were “confident” or “very confident” about the business environment, including their ability to hire, expand and invest. The average 36% growth rate expectation over the next 12 months will see Newcastle’s small businesses massively outperform the wider economy, which is currently growing at 2% according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.*
Confidence among small business owners may be buoyed by a strong local community in Newcastle, with 48% of consumers surveyed currently shopping locally.
Commenting on the report findings, Sarah Harvey, UK Lead for Square, said: “Much of the conversation about economic growth focuses on London and big business, but, interestingly, this research shows that it’s small businesses from all around the UK that are driving economic optimism.
“This study shows us that small business owners are feeling relatively confident about their growth potential, even during uncertain economic times. In part that’s thanks to the growth of technologies that level the playing field so businesses of all sizes and in all parts of the country have a fighting chance of success.”
Emma Jones MBE is the founder of Enterprise Nation, the UK’s leading small business community and campaigning voice for small business. She commented on the study: “This country has such an exciting culture of entrepreneurship, so I’m not surprised that this study shows SMEs to be feeling confident about their future growth.
“However we also know that setting up and running your own business is extremely challenging and incredibly hard work, especially with the current pace of technological change and innovation. With the uncertain economic conditions ahead it’s more important than ever that business owners have access to the support, tools and information they need to thrive, and that as consumers, we all continue to support local and independent businesses across the UK.”