UK rated second most entrepreneurial country

Friday 4 September 2015

Data from the seventh Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report has found that the UK is the second most entrepreneurial country, second only to the US.

In addition to this, the owners and managers of small businesses across the six countries surveyed felt largely positive about their prospects for the coming year. Overall, 62 per cent expected their business to do well over the next 12 months. This has risen from 57 per cent in 2014 and 52 per cent in 2013.

Broken down by country, this was made up of 69 per cent of Americans, 65 of Dutch and Spanish respondents, 64 per cent of Britons, 61 per cent of Germans and 43 of the French people surveyed.

This positivity seems to be borne out by previously results, as 65 per cent had experienced a growth in sales over the past 12 months. What’s more, a quarter of respondents said their sales percentage was up by a double-digit figure over the same period.

However, this has yet to translate into increases when it comes to profits, which may be due to the fact that economic improvements have been relatively recent, and have yet to filter down to smaller businesses.

Discussing the importance of small businesses as part of a wider economic recovery, Hiscox’s chief executive officer Bronek Masojada said: “They are a nursery for new ideas. With the freedom to pursue innovations that might never be sanctioned in a bigger company, small businesses consistently generate a disproportionately large number of the new patents granted globally each year and as that continues so does the chance that today’s micro-business becomes tomorrow’s top corporation.”

As the economic recovery is still in its infancy, many companies are being careful when it comes to taking on more staff. Almost two thirds (64 per cent) said they had not made any new hires over the past year, and only 64 per cent plan to take on more workers in the next twelve months. However, 22 per cent said they planned to advertise entry-level positions.

Instead, many businesses are planning to focus on innovation as a way of boosting their bottom line. An encouraging 41 per cent are preparing to launch a new product or service in the next year, compared to 36 per cent this time last year.

The most popular area for innovation is exports, where 71 per cent of companies expect to start offering something new over the next 12 months, in addition to the 65 per cent who have done so over the past year.

When it comes to the way forward, the UK differs slightly from the other countries surveyed. Abroad, restrictive regulations were perceived as the biggest obstacle to small business growth. However, in the UK, problems with the education system were thought to be the biggest obstacle to success.

This means many entrepreneurs will be watching school reforms and the government’s much-vaunted apprenticeship programmes to see if they are helping to equip young people for the world of work.

By Victoria McDonnell

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