Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 24°C

min temp: 14°C

Search

East Anglia: SMEs stepping up their investment plans, Bibby Financial Services’s latest Business Factors Index reveals

14:22 10 March 2014

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

GRAHAM FLACK 07747 015131

Small and medium sized enterprises in East Anglia are stepping up their investment plans following a further improvement in new business during the final months of 2013.

According to the latest Business Factors Index, produced quarterly by Bibby Financial Services, nearly half of SMEs in the region (48%) saw an increase in new customers during the final quarter of last year, up from 46 in the previous three months.

More than two in five of the firms (42%) said they were investing in new product development, up substantially from just 16% in the third quarter, while a similar proportion (41% said they were investin in training and staff development, up from 31% in the previous survey..

However, the survey also shows that the economic climate remains challenging for many SMEs, one in five citing costs as a major barrier to growth.

The Business Factors Index surveys the sentiment and outlook of 500 SME owners across the manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services services.

Across the South of England as a whole, including East Anglia, the South East, Greater London and the South West, 36% of firms reported an improvement in morale, compared with 30% in the third quarter, with 10% saying that business has never been better, up from 5% in the previous three months. The survey also found that two out of five firms in the south (39%) saw a rise in customers in the final quarter of 2013.

However, the overall picture for the South was slightly less positive than in the third quarter, with strong figures for East Anglia and the South West offset by a weaker performance in London and the South East.

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia said: “The findings of our research for Q4 2013 are certainly encouraging and although we’re not yet heading back to pre-recession levels of trading, what we do have is the foundations on which to start building for a sustainable recovery.

“The reality for many SMEs in East Anglia is that running a business is still a huge challenge, and one in five, 20%, of the firms we spoke to during Q4 said the cost of running their business was the biggest barrier to growth.

“In order to start benefiting from better trading conditions, it is imperative that the financial services sector plays its part in backing those firms and providing the kind of funding that not only meets a financial requirement but works with development of the business.”

0 comments

Norwich Crown Court

A former instructor for the Army Cadet Force has been jailed for sexually assaulting a teenage cadet on a training camp.

An East of England Ambulance Trust ambulance. Photograph Simon Parker

A car has overturned on Woodbridge Road close to Barclays Bank in Ipswich.

The new Aldi in Donald Mackintosh Way, Ipswich.

Ipswich’s third Aldi supermarket is to open its doors tomorrow at Pinewood on the southern edge of the town.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

Two young men terrified a teenage girl after donning balaclavas and arming themselves with a hammer and rounders bat when taking the law into their own hands.

The Very Revd Martin Thrower

A senior Suffolk clergyman has been suspended by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich after being arrested by police on suspicion of voyeurism.

A photograph of a recovered Samurai Sword after an incident in Ipswich on August 30, 2016. Pic: Ali Livingstone / Suffolk Constabulary.

A man has been arrested and a samurai sword has been recovered after an incident in Ipswich this morning.

Ricky Mutton

Police were able to clear up 13 burglaries after an Ipswich man wrote a letter from prison saying he wanted to “wipe the slate clean”, a court has heard.

The Flatford terrapin - now named John!

When Ipswich teenager Curtis Jay went on the hunt for Pokemon Go characters in Flatford he accidentally stumbled upon a very different creature.

Suffolk and Norfolk police assistant chief constable Sarah Hamlin.

The assistant chief constable for Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies has announced her retirement in a series of Twitter posts which appear to criticise the police forces.

Stowmarket chicken shed fire (Photo: Denise Bates)

A chicken shed blaze in Stowmarket has been tackled by firefighters.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24