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Double business boost from new economic data

International confidence among entrepreneurs is high, but a lack of innovation could dampen long-term trade prospects, according to new research.

The study, from Barclays, interviewed 1,350 business leaders around the world on their perceptions of British entrepreneurs and their experiences trading with UK scale-ups.

Four fifths of overseas business leaders think the UK is a good place to start a business, with Brazil, the US and China most optimistic about Britain’s potential to create the next Apple or Google on home shores.

Yet this fell dramatically in the views of Germany (64%) and France (68%).

The news comes on the day that Britain reported its first significant economic data since the Brexit vote – a better than expected 0.5% rise in GDP over the third quarter of 2016 - driven by the service sector. The figure is higher than the 0.2% growth which the Bank of England had been predicting..

Four out of five people polled in the Barclays survey consider the UK’s start-up scene as an important global growth business hub for entrepreneurs and four fifths would also consider investing in a UK start-up.

Trading with the UK post-Referendum

Following the UK’s EU Referendum vote, 61% of International business leaders say it won’t have any impact on the way they do business with UK entrepreneurs: 84% believe UK products and services will continue to offer good value, three quarters (76%) say they are confident that Britain will have a solid plan in place, while the ‘Made In Britain’ brand is a highly attractive for 74%. A further 60% say Brexit will actually improve their trade dealings with British companies.

Doing Business with West Midlands entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs in Shropshire, and the rest of the West Midlands, are described by overseas business leaders as reliable (41%), smart (41%) and polite (37%).

Common traits of West Midlands entrepreneurs, as voted by global business leaders:

  1. Reliable – 41%
  2. Smart – 41%
  3. Polite – 37%
  4. Co-operative – 40%
  5. Honest – 38%
  6. Hardworking – 39%
  7. Innovative – 28%
  8. Driven – 42%
  9. Inspiring – 35%
  10. Passionate – 32%

When asked what would encourage them to do more trade with companies in the UK, nearly half (47%) say Brits need to show greater differentiation and innovation in products and services.

Other factors include a need for more face-to-face communication (47%) and for the UK’s digital skills to be improved (45%). If these were addressed, global business leaders would increase their trade with the UK by almost a third (28%). The UK being better at digital is most important for business leaders in China (64%).

John Pitchford, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays in Shropshire, said: “This shows UK entrepreneurs are held in high regard by business leaders globally, particularly in Brazil, China and the US.  

“However it’s critical that, against the backdrop of Brexit, the UK does everything it can to maintain and crucially build on this. That includes capitalising on the trade relationships and investment opportunities that the research highlights in order to thrive.

“Policy makers and the wider industry have an important role in boosting the reputation of UK enterprise. Our findings show that improved digital, innovation and communication skills will increase trade by almost a third.

“As a recognised global hub for high growth businesses, we must do all we can to declare we are open for business for these economic dynamos.”

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