Parliament (2)

After a year of political instability and changes across the globe, new research reveals the majority of small businesses feel ignored by their countries political decision making.

The research by Sage revealed 63% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world said they were unaware of government efforts to fight their corner of felt under-represented by politicians.

Whilst gaining views of over 5,500 entrepreneurs across 19 countries worldwide, the study also revealed that businesses in the UK are concerned about the global economy, with 61% considering it is less stable than six months ago.

Despite this, 40% say that haven’t done anything to safeguard their business against instability.

Business confidence in the UK is comparatively low in the UK, as just 37% feel positive about their business’s prospects over the next six months, compared to a global average of 52%.

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage said: “Business builders are the heroes of the economy – working night and day to create two thirds of all new jobs in most developed economies. But so often, when the world’s policy makers discuss the economic picture, these entrepreneurs are excluded from the discussion.

“They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and their communities – especially during the busy holiday season.”

The top three concerns for UK businesses are currency fluctuations (19%), bureaucracy (16%), and joint thirdly lack of relevant skills and access to funding (both 11%), demonstrating the knock-on effect Brexit could be having.

However, Brexit provokes a mixed reaction from UK small businesses. Although 38% say it will have a negative impact on their business, 35% of say it will have a positive impact.

In line with the global outlook, almost half of UK small businesses (49%) believe that the Government can best help them through business support e.g. export opportunities, grants.

The news comes as Sage announces the launch of its ‘Forum for Business Builders’, to provide entrepreneurs and business builders all over the world with a platform to get their views heard, along with insight on business barriers, and policy support for entrepreneurs as they navigate uncertainty and turmoil.

Jacqueline de Rojas, managing director, Northern Europe, Sage, said: “Entrepreneurs and business builders are the powerhouse of the UK economy. But the research is telling us that a lack of stability is having a negative impact on their confidence, and potential currency fluctuations over the next six months could prove to be a significant barrier going into 2017.

“We believe that by giving these businesses a voice, like we have today in Ireland, and encouraging them to embrace technology and the cloud, they will be far better equipped to negotiate the changing landscape whatever changes a post-Brexit world brings.

She added: “Our hope is that this approach will also be adopted by the UK Government so that we can all work together to help UK businesses knock down the barriers holding them back.”