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Resilient SMEs are poised for future growth, our new research shows

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Resilient SMEs are poised for future growth, our new research shows

Updated: 3 June 2024

Our latest Economic Impact Report has found that small businesses are showing increased resilience and optimism, and are ready to take their next step towards growth. 

The road to resilience

Based on a detailed survey of our customers, we found that SMEs continue to face challenges while recovering in the post-pandemic environment – 45% of the SMEs surveyed reporting that they had paused, cancelled or delayed an investment in 2023. However, the strength of SMEs prevails, with 78% reporting that these challenges taught them valuable lessons and that, rather than weakening their prospects, this had increased the resilience of their businesses.

Things are looking up 

The research also points to early signs of growing confidence among small businesses, in both their future survival and growth prospects. 88% reported they have the same or more confidence in their business performance over the next 12 months, compared to the previous year. This aligns with recent data by the ONS, which shows the number of small businesses reporting ‘no concerns’ for their business at the end of 2023 compared to 2022 had risen by 9 percentage points. 

Powering future growth

However, in order for these businesses to unlock their growth potential,  77% expect to need to access additional finance in the future. More than half of all firms (52%) expect to do so in the coming 12 months – a three percentage point increase from a year ago. Yet of those, 73% expect to use this additional funding for investment and growth, which is a good sign that business confidence is increasing. 

Backing businesses to take their next step

We’re proud that the research also shows our lending in 2023 reached businesses in every corner of the UK, including across each of the UK’s 650 Parliamentary constituencies. In 2023, our loans under management contributed a significant £6.9bn to UK GDP, supported over 95,800 jobs, and was associated with activity stimulating £1.6bn in tax revenues.

If you would like to read the full report, you can do so here.

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