Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 5°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: SMEs stepping up their investment plans, Bibby Financial Services’s latest Business Factors Index reveals

14:22 10 March 2014

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

GRAHAM FLACK 07747 015131

Small and medium sized enterprises in East Anglia are stepping up their investment plans following a further improvement in new business during the final months of 2013.

shares

According to the latest Business Factors Index, produced quarterly by Bibby Financial Services, nearly half of SMEs in the region (48%) saw an increase in new customers during the final quarter of last year, up from 46 in the previous three months.

More than two in five of the firms (42%) said they were investing in new product development, up substantially from just 16% in the third quarter, while a similar proportion (41% said they were investin in training and staff development, up from 31% in the previous survey..

However, the survey also shows that the economic climate remains challenging for many SMEs, one in five citing costs as a major barrier to growth.

The Business Factors Index surveys the sentiment and outlook of 500 SME owners across the manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services services.

Across the South of England as a whole, including East Anglia, the South East, Greater London and the South West, 36% of firms reported an improvement in morale, compared with 30% in the third quarter, with 10% saying that business has never been better, up from 5% in the previous three months. The survey also found that two out of five firms in the south (39%) saw a rise in customers in the final quarter of 2013.

However, the overall picture for the South was slightly less positive than in the third quarter, with strong figures for East Anglia and the South West offset by a weaker performance in London and the South East.

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia said: “The findings of our research for Q4 2013 are certainly encouraging and although we’re not yet heading back to pre-recession levels of trading, what we do have is the foundations on which to start building for a sustainable recovery.

“The reality for many SMEs in East Anglia is that running a business is still a huge challenge, and one in five, 20%, of the firms we spoke to during Q4 said the cost of running their business was the biggest barrier to growth.

“In order to start benefiting from better trading conditions, it is imperative that the financial services sector plays its part in backing those firms and providing the kind of funding that not only meets a financial requirement but works with development of the business.”

shares

0 comments

Suffolk cider and vinegar maker Aspall was named Business of the Year at last year's EADT Business Awards.  From left, Tom McGarry of EDF Energy, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall and Sarah Howard,  of SuffolkChamber.  	
Picture: Lucy Taylor

Tomorrow is the final day for entering the 2015 East Anglian Daily Times Business Awards.

A delivery of sugar beet arriving at the British Sugar factory in Bury St Edmunds.

Strong trading at retailer Primark failed to boost Associated British Foods today as the Silver Spoon-to-Ovaltine conglomerate warned that annual earnings will fall due to the strong pound and weak sugar sales.

David Halliday, managing director of Seafast Logistics.

A small but growing specialist logistics firm based in Suffolk is among a select group of companies celebrating today after scooping a prestigious national accolade.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of the Ipswich-based Realise Futures.

Sarah Sharlott, chief executive of Ipswich-based Realise Futures, has been giving budding social entrepreneurs “down under” the benefit of her experience of heading an award-winning social enterprise.

The Bernard Matthews processing plant at Great Witchingham.

Poultry company Bernard Matthews has revealed signs of recovery by posting a significantly reduced annual loss.

The price war between the UK's supermarkets is causing problems for their suppliers and for smaller food retailers, according to a new report.
Photo: Getty Images/Pixland

The supermarket price war is having a “devastating” effect on suppliers and smaller grocers after a report showed the number of food and drink manufacturers in “significant” financial distress jumped by 94% on a year ago.

Frank Brumby, eastern region chairman of R3.

A new website designed to guide the region’s creditors through the insolvency process has been launched by the eastern branch of insolvency trade body R3.

Alex Till of Menta.

Enterprise agency Menta has launched a new Digital Enterprise Engagement Programme (DEEP), offering newly formed local businesses and those who are self-employed access to free digital training courses.

Solar farm. Library image.

A proposed solar park in Wix has been tipped for approval by council planning officers.

The headquarters of Realise Futures in Ipswich.

Ipswich-based social enterprise Realise Futures has won a contract to provide supported employment services for adults with disabilities across a wide area of Essex.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages