European led SMEs growing twice as fast as their British counterparts

European-led SMEs are growing twice as quickly as their British counterparts, highlighting how Britain needs to continue to attract the brightest.

UK SMEs run by a European owner saw growth twice as quickly as companies owned by a British CEO, as Europeans take advantage of the UK’s pro-business environment, says Opal Transfer.

Research by Opal Transfer shows that from a sample of more than 4,000 businesses found that SMEs run by a European increased their turnover by 10.5 per cent from 2014/15 to 2015/16, whilst those run by a British director grew at a more modest 4.5 per cent.

Opal Transfer says that this highlights the fact that driven, European entrepreneurs want to come to the UK to start their businesses, and are choosing to do so instead of starting it in their homeland.

Since the Brexit vote, there has been uncertainty as to what the future holds for European entrepreneurs, who have created jobs and brought growth to the UK economy.

Opal Transfer note that since the Brexit vote, the government have spoken about introducing a new, tougher system of immigration with the aim of reducing immigration to ‘the tens of thousands.’

Some European directors may choose to move back to the EU if no agreement can be struck between British and European politicians. There is no guarantee that these businesses will not relocate with their directors.

Opal Transfer comment that SMEs run by Europeans are more likely to relocate as they may have fewer ties keeping them to the UK, especially without anyone British running the company.

The government has been walking a tightrope for the past year between growing the economy and reducing immigration, with experts suggesting that there will need to be a trade-off.

Furthermore, there is a threat to the UK economy more widely because of Brexit, as firms work out the best place to continue doing business across Europe. This may well mean multinational companies moving offices to mainland Europe or Ireland so they can continue trading within the single market and customs union.

Gita Petkevica, managing director of Opal Transfer, comments, ‘Talented Entrepreneurs should be encouraged and welcomed to the UK, regardless of where they are from.

‘The UK has so far attracted the pick of the world’s entrepreneurs. Let’s not put that enviable position at risk.

‘The UK business environment has enabled many of these businesses to flourish. It is important that the UK government continues to put forward policies that encourage the best in Europe and around the world to do create businesses and jobs here.’

Further reading on business growth

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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