Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 7°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

East Anglia: Many of region’s SMEs still in ‘survival’ mode despite upturn in recruitment plans, survey shows

11:29 17 March 2014

Prof Robert Blackburn, director at the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University.

Prof Robert Blackburn, director at the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University.

Archant

The recovery for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in East Anglia remains fragile, despite the likely creation of 40,000 new jobs in the sector this year, according to a new report.

shares

The “Collaborate UK 2014” study, carried out for distribution firm CitySprint, found that 19% of SMEs in the East region expect to hire more staff this year while 11% expect to reduce their workforce.

The net balance of 8% equates to around 40,360 extra jobs over the course of the year, a figure beaten by only three other English regions London, the South East and the South West.

However, more than half of SMEs in the East (52%) said that “survival” remained their top priority, with nearly a quarter (23%) saying that increased competition had been an obstacle to success over the last 12 months, the highest in the UK.

Looking forward, more than half (51%) of SMEs in the East are looking to grow their customer base nationally, the largest number in the UK and significantly higher than the national average of 41%.

More than half of SMEs in the region (55%) are also considering diversification into new sectors or industries this year in order to achieve growth, compared with a national average of 43%.

However, growing the customer base internationally is seen as a priority by only about one is six SMEs in the East (16%), compared with one in five for the country as a whole.

Prof Robert Blackburn, director at the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University, said: “We are starting to see SMEs begin the shift from a ‘survive’ to a ‘thrive’ mode, but it’s clear that a recovery is yet to be felt across the whole SME business population – we are far from out of the doldrums.”

The survey also found that SMEs in the East are more inclined that those elsewhere to “go it alone”. They would like to cut the number of business partners and suppliers they work with to nine, the lowest in the UK little more than half the national average of 16 half the number they worked with last year.

When asked what the biggest barrier to collaboration was, a third (33%) of SMEs in the East admitted to being worried that others might steal their ideas, a figure second only to Wales.

However, Patrick Gallagher,chief executive of CitySprint, said that businesses which sought to work collaboratively would reap the benefit.

“Rather than waiting for opportunities to come to them, SMEs in the East are innovating and looking beyond their back garden for growth.

“Their tenacious spirit, which helped weather the downturn, is fuelling their ambitions to expand, but the benefits of working closer with other businesses will far outweigh any benefits of going it alone.”

shares

0 comments

An artist's impression of the street scene at Wolsey Grange.

A rejected bid to create almost 500 homes on land near Ipswich is to be reconsidered – following allegations a district councillor was handed a note during the original hearing.


A trolley bus at the junction of Duke Street (right) and Fore Hamlet (behind the bus) in April 1963. (Photo by Alan Valentine).

It is more than 50 years since the last trolley bus service ran on the streets of Ipswich, writes David Kindred.

High water at Felixstowe Ferry. Archive image. Photo: Stephen Squirrell/citizenside.com

Flood alerts are in place tonight along the Essex and Suffolk coastline.

Jo Harris worked at the B&M store in Copdock until 2013, and despite being an employee there was issued two fines of £70 for parking.

A group of former employees at a store in Ipswich have been left distraught after car park fines mistakenly issued more than two years ago has left them facing a court appearance.

Two charged over cannabis factory

A78-year-old Ipswich man is one of two people to have been charged after police raided a cannabis factory near Stowmarket.

Bucklesham Grange care home, Ipswich celebrate shrove Tuesday with a pancake race and pancake tossing 
Debbie and John with Daniel rowark

Flipping good fun was had by all at Bucklesham Grange Care Home this afternoon as a range of games and activities were put on to mark Shrove Tuesday.

Local campaigners  gather in silent protest against the prospective development of rushmere memorial woodland and small holding

A site registered as an asset of community value last year faces losing the status already after a High Court battle against housing plans was rejected.

Northgate High School GV.

A former teacher at an Ipswich secondary school is to appear in court charged with alleged sex offences involving teenage girls.

Do you know where this church is?

Take a look at our selection of photos - how many Suffolk churches can you identify?

Live:News updates from Suffolk and Essex

Yesterday, 14:39
Share your pancake photos with us

Live news feed bringing you the latest headlines, sports stories and opinion from across Suffolk and north Essex.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24