Great news for entrepreneurs and fast growth businesses based in the UK – the country has been ranked in the top five G20 countries, and the top in Europe, to start, grow and run a business.
In these challenging times, this is music to my ears. SMEs are vital to the innovation agenda as they develop new products and services, challenge the norms and promote healthy competition.
The EY G20 Entrepreneurship Barometer 2013, produced by professional-services firm Ernst and Young, found that the UK was only second behind the US in providing access to funding. Interestingly, Germany, the next-highest European country, was ranked 13th in this category.
Funding is one of the biggest issues for SMEs, and as companies grow their requirements for funding change. It is therefore critical that the right type of capital is available at the right stage in a company’s lifecycle to ensure success. This is why I am so pleased to see that the UK scored so highly in this category. Clearly schemes such as Funding for Lending and the Government’s Business Bank are starting to have effect.
Other factors in the report included entrepreneurship culture, tax and regulation, education and training, and coordinated support. The UK scored highly in tax and regulation (4th), entrepreneurship culture (6th), and education and training (6th), but it was right at the bottom end of the scale (17th) when it came to coordinated support. Obviously there is work to be done on bringing all these elements together to create an environment where fast growth companies can truly prosper. This can only be done if Government ministries for each of these areas work together to ensure that their policies work with and not against each other.
Of course, businesses must not sit on their laurels and just wait for these support schemes to fall into their lap. They must get out there, find out what they can take advantage of and make it work for them.
Overall, I think we should be proud that the UK is a hotbed for start-ups and growing companies. If we want to really boost the economy it is vital that we support these companies on their paths to growth and demonstrate that the UK is definitely open for business.
John Bryceland, Head of SME Sales at SAP UKI
To read an Economist Intelligence Unit report, sponsored by SAP, on building a platform for flexible growth please visit http://www.sapforsme.com/EIU_ScalingSMEs.pdf