Image: G.I. Barone Image: G.I. Barone

17 per cent of British small and medium-sized enterprises have missed a payday.Despite being responsible for nearly half of Britain’s economic activity, research commissioned by npower Business has shown the shocking extent to which SMEs are struggling to keep their head above water.

In an increasingly competitive and complex economic landscape, SMEs businesses were found to be predominately self-financing with over half (57 per cent) of businesses claiming they don't rely on anyone or anything for financial support these days. Less than one in five (19 per cent) also rely heavily on personal savings.

As with the Brexit vote, which split the country, business are also split in their confidence for growth over the coming year. Over a third (36 per cent) of SMEs are more confident about their business growth prospects for 2017, compared with last year, mainly due to the economic outlook for Britain and the decision to leave the EU. However, a quarter (25 per cent) of the respondents are less confident about their business growth prospects for 2017, with 67 per cent of these attributing this to Brexit.

SMEs account for more than 99 per cent of private sector businesses in the United Kingdom and provide employment for 16.8 million people. Their economic contribution should not be underestimated and that’s why npower Business has partnered with Tim Campbell, winner of the first series of BBC’s The Apprentice, to highlight the importance of these businesses, and the necessity for increased support from each other, larger businesses and Government.

Richard Longbottom, Acting Head of npower Business, said: “SMEs are super powering towns and cities across Britain, helping to determine the success and character of regions across the UK. However, it’s clear from our research that some of these businesses are relying entirely on themselves to succeed. At npower Business, we believe SMEs could do more to learn from each other in the same way that we continually learn from those who we talk to everyday. This is why we are calling on SMEs to share their superpowers and learn from each other to help improve their bottom line.”

Businessman and Apprentice winner Tim Campbell, who is fronting the campaign said: “SMEs are absolutely fundamental to Britain’s economy. Not only do they inject a substantial amount of money into the economy, they create significant jobs throughout Britain. Throughout my career, I have witnessed a number of remarkable ways in which SMEs have overcome problematic issues before going on to flourish and prosper. Their capabilities should be recognised and celebrated.”

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