The result of the European Union (EU) referendum has sent shock-waves throughout Britain and beyond – not only was it a momentous, once-in-a-lifetime decision, but it was also one that many people did not expect. Two weeks on from the news that the country had voted narrowly in favour of leaving the EU and the dust is yet to settle, with resignations coming from high-profile politicians and the leadership of both of the UK’s two main political parties still uncertain.
Regardless of what Brexit will mean for Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the years to come, the more pressing question in the short-term is what the impact of the current political and economic uncertainty will be on the nation’s small business sector.
The initial signs were not positive; a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which was conducted in the build-up to referendum vote on 23 June, found that SME confidence in the UK had hit a four-year low. However, this week a separate study the Business Growth Fund painted a very different picture. It suggested there was still a high degree of optimism among small businesses in Britain, with 74% of SMEs saying that they still think that the UK is a great place to start and grow a company.
Business Growth Fund’s research comes as welcome news – it is vital that Britain’s SME community, which accounts for 99.9% of all private sector businesses, remains buoyant and continues to grow. To that end, Michael Jackson, the former COO of Skype, has this week urged small businesses to embrace the disruption and take advantage of their greater agility.
Commenting on the concerns many business owners and entrepreneurs hold with regards to Brexit, Mr Jackson stated: “It seems remarkably risk averse for a group of people that are praised and rewarded for their dynamism. After all, it’s the same people that preach about the unstoppable force of change and that profit from disruption. Why aren’t they embracing change and seeing the incredible opportunity that it presents?”
What Britain’s political and economic landscape will look like in five or ten years’ time is hard to predict at present. But what is important is that SMEs do not cautiously wait for the lay of the land to become clear; instead they must find ways to ambitiously pursue growth without taking undue risk. This makes IW Capital’s Race to Scale initiative more important than ever – the £100 million funding drive for scale-up businesses gives promising, established SMEs the chance to access much needed growth finance, in turn enabling them to thrive in times of disruption.
To find out more about Race to Scale or to submit a business proposal for your chance to secure funding, click here.