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More female entrepreneurs on the high street

March 2014
The UK has seen a dramatic rise in the number of women setting up high street businesses, according to a member survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The figures featured in a recent BBC report, which revealed that almost half (49.5%) of small businesses established in the last two years in retail, hotels, catering and leisure are owned primarily by women.
The FSB’s 2013 Voice Of Small Business survey, based on over 8,600 member responses, provides a stark contrast to another FSB survey from over 20 years ago, based on over 11,300 responses, which found that less than a quarter (24%) of these businesses were primarily owned by women. Further figures reveal that female business owners are less likely to take financial risks than their male counterparts. Female business owners borrow £18,700 on average compared to the £28,000 borrowed by males.
“How fantastic to see more women in business; in particular, taking a leading role on UK high streets,” says FSB National Chairman John Allan. “The UK’s town centres look a lot different today than even five years ago. We really need to keep small businesses at the heart of the local community, generating wealth, employment and opportunity.”

SMEs shy away from pay rises

March 2014
Small business owners are reluctant to offer staff pay rises despite the changing fortunes of the economy. The knock-on effect of recession seems to be a cautious optimism that sees SMEs concentrating on building capital before passing on any growth rewards to staff. 
The quarterly Viking Small Business Barometer found that 62% of SME owners and MDs aren’t yet confident enough with the economic situation to turn accrued capital into pay rises. Although there is a general feeling that business is picking up – 64% of businesses questioned believe they will experience growth in the next quarter – there is an underlying reticence to begin celebrating just yet. 
Instead of pay rises, many businesses are looking at alternative staff incentives, with 26% offering flexible working to employees. 

SMEs look to Budget for support

March 2014
Small and medium-sized businesses are hoping for a show of support from George Osborne in this month’s Budget. The business lobby group, the CBI, believes the government needs to offer more help for SMEs that want to access finance. It suggests a wider range of alternative funding options, as well as more competition being introduced across the banking industry. 
With SMEs still feeling the pinch as the economy recovers, these measures are seen as being key to helping small businesses survive and flourish. Equity funding, carbon price freezing and a proportionate regulation of crowdfunding are amongst other items on the CBI’s agenda for the forthcoming budget. 

Women business owners boost high-street growth

March 2014
Data from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that UK high streets are being given a boost by an increasing number of female entrepreneurs. The research shows that almost half (49.5%) of small businesses set up in the last two years in the retail, and hotel, catering and leisure sectors, are primarily owned by women. The figures have risen sharply from 20 years ago, when just under a quarter (24%) of FSB surveyed members were female-owned businesses. 
This could be a reflection of the recent economic climate, as women are more likely to work for micro firms than they are for larger businesses. On top of this, further research revealed that female entrepreneurs are less likely to take financial risks – they borrow £18,700 for their business set-up on average, compared to their male counterparts who borrow £28,000. 

Business confidence on the rise

February 2014

A survey conducted by the accountancy industry body – the ICAEW – has found that business confidence is currently running high.

The Business Confidence Monitor (BCM) reported back from businesses that they have experienced their fastest investment growth since 2008. The banking and construction sector offered the most positive feedback with house builders, in particular, experiencing a notable profit boost, thanks in some part to government initiatives.

Far from being a short-term wave of positivity, the feedback found that businesses are confident that the upturn in turnover and profit is set to continue for the remainder of the year and this confidence should translate to job creation.