Early-stage start-ups ‘biggest threat’ to UK’s small and medium businesses

Firms list increasing competition and red-tape as main barriers to growth in new study

Increasing competition from post-recession start-ups is the biggest threat to the UK’s small and medium businesses, new research has revealed.

The study, commissioned by Bibby Financial Services, surveyed 1,000 businesses with turnover of up to £25m and 250 employees to find out their “biggest fears and worries” in today’s economic climate.

24% of those surveyed cited the rise in new firms as their main concern, while 13% listed government red-tape as their biggest growth challenge.

Other barriers to growth cited by small and medium companies were rising raw material costs (15%), access to finance (9%), and a lack of skilled staff (8%).

The research builds on recent government and Companies House data which showed that the number of start-ups in the UK has reached a five year peak for 2014, with 54,336 incorporations in March alone.

Discussing how the findings are positive for start-up business owners, Bibby Financial Services UK CEO, David Postings, commented:

“This is certainly a different picture from just a few years ago and the UK has returned to its position as a breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship.

“The economic downturn has fostered a DIY ethos in the country, which is now paying dividends for the economy through both recruitment and output.

“Technology is undoubtedly removing barriers to entry for a lot of industries, but it’s vital that new-start and early stage businesses have the financial means to invest for long-term success.”

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