UK Businesses Facing a Golden Era

UK Businesses Facing a Golden Era

Businesses are facing a These are exciting times for small businesses. You could even refer to it as a golden era, if recent government statistics are to be believed.

Lord Young - Prime Minister David Cameron's Enterprise advisor - has recently published a review in which he heralds the beginning of the small business 'golden era' amid the UK's "changing face of business".

Lord Young's extensive analysis, 'The Report on Small Firms 2010 - 2015', identified some quite staggering statistics:

  • There are now 5.2 million small firms in the UK, accounting for 48% of employment and 33% of private sector turnover.

  • This represents an increase in the business population of 17% since 2010.

  • The UK is ranked as the most entrepreneurial country in Europe, and is ranked 4th in the world by the Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute.

  • Over 4.5m people are self-employed in the UK, an increase of 500,000 since 2010. According to Lord Young, evidence shows that the majority of self-employed people take this route because they want to.

  • Individuals in the 18-24 age bracket are almost twice as likely as older age groups to set up a business in the next three years.

According to Lord Young, the accessibility and mass adoption of new technology is responsible for this uplift, as the barriers to entry have been significantly reduced. He argues that technology has fueled a rise in the number of home-based businesses, and estimates that the Internet represents a £19 billion business opportunity for small firms.

Lord Young also noted a number of government support mechanisms, including improvements in the regulatory, tax and exports environment; the new British Business Bank; and the Royal Charter for the Association of Business Schools.

Key initiatives such as Start-Up Loans and Growth Vouchers were also noted as major enablers in business growth. The importance of these programmes cannot be understated, and the BCA is working to help workspace operators - as well as their clients - to access such support schemes through its new Roadshows For Growth series.

Help to Grow

And that's not all.

At the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) annual conference, held earlier this month, Prime Minister David Cameron announced further measures to support Britain's flourishing SME sector.

A new 'Help To Grow' scheme has been launched that's designed to emulate Germany's thriving mid-market through its 'Mittelstand' model, providing financial support to help smaller firms make the jump to mid-sized level.

The scheme will be piloted by the British Business Bank, through the form of loans and match funding with private investment.

On the same subject, Britain's SMEs now have greater access to financial support from banks - both on a direct and indirect level. Funding Circle - which has so far lent over £500 million to British businesses - is one form of alternative funding that is becoming mainstream, particularly as banks are now proactively referring rejected funding candidates to Funding Circle for backing.

Flexible workspace mirrors SME success

All this is very positive news for British businesses and the wider UK economy. But what are we seeing at ground level?

Within flexible workspace circles, business centre expansions are certainly on the rise. The industry is critical to the support and growth of small and medium-sized businesses, and the success of workspace clients is reflected in the continued growth of BCA Member operators.

A prime example comes in the form of Prospect Business Centres, a Leeds-based operator

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