UK second “most entrepreneurial” nation in the world

US said to be best place for business as DNA of an Entrepreneur report highlights surge in small business optimism and innovation

The UK is now the second “most entrepreneurial” nation in the world as small businesses turn to new innovations and exports to accelerate growth- according to the seventh annual Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report.

Collating the responses of 4,000 small businesses from the UK, US, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, the study found that overall business optimism levels have hit a three year high – with 64% of UK business owners positive about the year ahead.

51% of small firms plan to launch a new product or service in the coming year. This is particularly visible with exporters, 72% of which plan to introduce a new product or service in next 12 months.

When it came to the most  “entrepreneurial” countries, America was ranked highest, followed by the UK and then Germany. Spain was ranked the lowest for enterprise, even by those business owners based in Spain.

In terms of growth prospects, start-up businesses established after the recession were significantly more optimistic (70% in comparison with 59% for older firms) and this increased optimism is thought to be the result of growing revenues with a quarter of small businesses having reported double-digit growth – up from 16% last year.

Encouragingly, 22% of UK firms said they would be hiring staff in the year ahead with 10% searching for junior staff and 9% looking to employ apprentices or interns.

On business obstacles, 19% of respondents said accessing bank finance has become even harder in the last year. Only 3% of firms surveyed were found to have sourced finance through crowdfunding or peer-to-peer lending, with 15% having used their credit card to help fund their business.

In the UK, just over a quarter (27%) of small companies said that late payments are a major problem, despite a recent government pledge to tackle the issue. Despite this, UK businesses were said to be the most content with government policies, with 45% of business owners belieivng that the government supports entrepreneurship and is working to help entrepreneurs.

Bronek Masojada, Hiscox CEO, commented: “The report implies a new air of confidence among small businesses as they build on the nascent recovery to drive expansion and capture the upswing.

“The acceleration in the rate of new product launches is especially bullish. Small businesses play a disproportionately large role in global innovation and this bodes well for future growth.”

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