Entrepreneurs Positive About Employment & Exports

Posted on the 26 October 2016

Entrepreneurs Positive About Employment & Exports

The North East’s high-growth businesses have increased employment numbers, grown exports and are positive about opportunities in the post-Brexit vote economy, according to new figures from the Entrepreneurs’ Forum. 

Research conducted by Hexham based independent research agency Public Knowledge on behalf of the group, which represents more than 300 high-growth businesses in the North East, has shown that the region’s businesses performed better last year than in the previous, and that despite the Brexit vote the majority predict even stronger performance next year. 

The businesses were not complacent and did highlight a number of significant challenges, however Brexit only registered as a challenge by 10% of the group; dwarfed by the 30% who are concerned about access to skills. 

Among the key finds are: 

  • 68% of companies said they expected to increase the number of people they employ.
  • 52% of firms expected to see an increase in export sales in 2016/17, compared to just 3% that expect to see exports fall.
  • The majority of companies also reported positive performance and expectations in the areas of stock level, capital expenditure, prices, remuneration, profit, and overall sales.
  • 30% of businesses said that a lack of skilled workers was the biggest challenge to growth; with competitive pressures given as the biggest challenge by 11% and Brexit by 10%. Only 2% of North East Entrepreneurs’ suggested a lack of confidence or economic uncertainty was the top challenge. 

Entrepreneurs’ Forum chairman Nigel Mills said: “It is great to see the North East’s high-growth businesses are bullish about their prospects for 2017. The fact that they are confident about creating more jobs, even after the EU referendum, shows how quickly they can adapt to changing markets. 

"A majority, including me, wanted to remain in the EU, but all see that being an entrepreneur involves adapting to circumstances and taking a dynamic approach to the opportunities they offer.

“The positive outlook of entrepreneurs in the North East, even in uncertain times, demonstrates just how important they are to the region’s economic revival. The creation of jobs, and the wealth that funds public services, are a result of entrepreneurial activity, which must be encouraged and supported."

63 members completed the survey – 21% response rate 
Data Collection took place 22nd July – 19th August