North East entrepreneurs report confidence and growth

Confidence, sales, exports and profits are on an upward curve among owner-managed businesses in the North East, according to newly published research

The Tyne Bridge
The Tyne Bridge

Confidence, sales, exports and profits are on an upward curve among owner-managed businesses in the North East, according to newly published research.

The Entrepreneurs’ Forum Business Tracker Survey for the first quarter of 2013 shows entrepreneurial businesses in the region outperformed national benchmarks, with 45% of respondents indicating a growth in revenues, compared with the same period in 2012.

The survey also showed that:

Over the six months to March, 41% experienced a growth in exports.

A quarter of respondents had been able to raise prices, the majority had held them and 8% cut them.

66% of entrepreneurs believed their firms would do better between April to June 2013, compared with the same period in 2012, while only 6% believed sales would decrease.

Concerns about cash flow dropped, perhaps influenced by reduced concerns about taxation, PAYE, NI and business rates.

Only 9% saw obtaining finance as a key barrier to growth, compared with 19% at the end of 2012, while 53% felt they did not need credit.

49% of entrepreneurial-led businesses did not access grants, with 62% of that group saying they did not need them and 19% doubting they would qualify.

Entrepreneurs’ Forum chairman Nigel Mills said: “It appears we are turning the corner and there is now cause for real optimism in the rest of 2013, into 2014 and beyond.

“The growth in GDP announced last week suggests that the positivity from this survey has been carried into the second quarter and entrepreneurial-led businesses are at the heart of this strong performance.”

He acknowledged, however, that entrepreneurs still faced challenges: “Skills shortages are being felt severely and can be a real brake on growth. What we are finding is that many businesses are coming up with innovative ways of sourcing skilled young people, retaining their skilled people and attracting new workers.”

North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive James Ramsbotham, said: “This is excellent news and it is great to see our entrepreneurial-led businesses in robust health.

“The findings of this report back-up what we have been seeing in our own Quarterly Economic Survey, which also shows that business optimism is higher now than at any time since the beginning of recession.

“Hopefully these studies now show that 2013 will be the year we really kickstart growth across the region.”

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