Patchy recovery makes peer support key to boosting small business recovery, says Ingenious Britain


A leading small business network and advice hub has cautioned against taking too seriously new research that the UK’s economic recovery is now so fully entrenched that British SMEs are set to invest more than £80bn of their turnover into the UK over the next 12 months.

Ingenious Britain says the picture across the UK’s small business sector is still mixed and a survey of 1,168 business owners by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, which reported more than four out of five UK SMEs plan to invest up to 7% of turnover into business growth, does not provide an accurate picture across the whole of the UK SME sector.

“The report suggests that SMEs are keen to invest in new staff, new equipment and training in order to capitalise on improving economic conditions and that is something to be very much welcomed,” said Marlon Wolff, CEO of Ingenious Britain. 

“There is definitely a sense of greater confidence, but we should guard against taking our eyes of the ball by suggesting that the feelgood factor is generic across Britain’s small business sector just yet.”

Wolff cites additional research from insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor which revealed a 22% increase in the number of companies in “significant” financial distress in the first three months of this year. This report showed small businesses in consumer-facing sectors have experienced the most dramatic downturn in their fortunes over the last 12 months.

“What we are seeing is a changeable picture across the economy. The feedback that we receive from small businesses shows that companies are experiencing very different kinds of recovery based on the sectors in which they operate, their geographical location and their size. If, as we all agree, that small businesses are the engine room of the economy, we need to ensure that support is in place for those businesses that are still finding life tough.”

This, Wolff said, is why collaboration is the key and that peer support between successful small businesses should be used to more to facilitate best practice exchange. This is one of the key drivers behind Ingenious Britain Live!, a two day festival of small business, to be held at Millennium Point, Birmingham on 4-5 September 2014.