By Max Clarke

Nearly half of business owners expect the UK economy to improve over the next 12 months while a third anticipate no major change.

This is according to Investec’s latest Entrepreneur Confidence Index, which also revealed that a further 20% are less optimistic, anticipating decline either in the economy or in their own business.

“The findings from our Index are encouraging because much of the economic growth we are all hoping for will come from successful entrepreneurs,” said Ed Cottrell of Investec. “Many clearly feel optimistic about the future, and our findings reveal that 42% say that it is very likely that they will launch new companies and products in the UK over the next 12 months, compared to 26% who said this in December 2009. “

Behind the positive message outlined in the report, however, emerges a more worrying picture of the UK economy, with half of business owners expecting consumer demand to contract.

1 in 3 views the government’s spending cuts as ‘high risk’, and together with January’s VAT hike; high inflation and currency fluctiations, the economic future is uncertain for many of the UK’s enterprises.

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