Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 14°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

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.

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.”

0 comments

The Trotters Pig

Everyone has a favourite piggy - but which one is it?

Possible views for the new Cornhill in the heart of Ipswich.

A free wifi area could be created in the heart of Ipswich when the Cornhill is rebuilt over the next two years, it has emerged.

Martin Myerscough's Frugalpac cup

A Suffolk entrepreneur could soon be supplying his eco-friendly invention to the world’s largest coffee chain, after grabbing industry attention for his answer to an environmental problem.

Alexander Baxter, owner of gentleman’s accessory firm Baxter & Baxter

A 22-year-old fashion designer who left his day job to build a brand from the ground up has seen his accessories paraded on the red carpet.

A computer-generated image of how the Sizewell complex will look after construction of Sizewell C.

Britain is set to get its first new nuclear power station in generations as EDF’s directors approve investment in Hinkley Point.

Ipswich Hospital

Hundreds of working days were lost at Suffolk’s largest hospital through psychological issues last month, prompting an investigation into the possible link between staff overtime and stress.

The A1071 between Ipswich and Hintlesham.

There was heavy traffic on the A1071 in Hintlesham this evening due to a number of different crashes.

Tess carried a faulty BRCA2 gene, which greatly increases the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.

The family of a 24-year-old woman from Ipswich who has died of cancer have paid tribute to her “strength” and “bravery” as she was determined to live life to the full despite the devastating diagnosis.

Beatrix Potter fun day and celebrations at Long Melford Hall. Pictured is Maisey Doyle.

Birthday celebrations including a picnic, party games and a special trail have been held at a Suffolk hall in honour of the famous children’s author Beatrix Potter.

The Aldeburgh Carnival Queen for 2016 has been chosen

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a seaside procession, a great British fete or a laid back music festival - and all of these happen in abundance on the Suffolk Coast.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24