A headline in The Guardian’s Business section read “Fastest Economic Growth in 15 Years”. The title referred to the last fifteen years of data in the UK and specifically to the previous three months to September 2013. That has to be good news for any small business owner who has either started a new business or survived the worst period of economic contraction in a generation. At last, the feeling of optimism is palpable and bordering on infectious, but what does a positive outlook and optimism mean in real terms for business owners?
Increased Opportunity for Growth
Many businesses found that obtaining finance through the traditional sources anything from difficult to impossible during the economic downturn, but a surprising phenomenon occurred. Traditional funding sources gave way to alternative investment modules that ranged from crowd funding initiatives such as Crowd Cube through to cash advance investments from businesses like Liberis that take a percentage of sales rather than restrictive the fixed payments that come with loans. .
It’s thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of people in the UK that these initiatives have allowed the UK’s service sector to experience growth when other areas have remained relatively stagnant or been in decline. The present government has introduced a number of initiatives designed to stimulate various industries, with the construction sector benefitting most notably. Retail however, is one area that traditionally struggles for investment in the form of grants from government bodies, but the move to take retail online allows many retail businesses to access funding that would previously have been off-limits. This is because there are many funding opportunities available for businesses that want to invest in technology.
Growth from the Far East
More recently though, it’s investment from overseas that has been making headlines and more specifically, Chinese investors are view the UK as a good place for investment rather than a simply target market that is ripe for export.
Foreign Minister Hugo Swire delivered a great speech during the China Association Autumn Lunch that highlighted how China’s Minister for Finance regards the UK as one of the World’s best locations for investment. Those views are largely because of the openness to investment and the secure nature in which our legal system protects those investments. Although the UK receives a small proportion of China’s total global investment each year, it is way ahead of other European countries when considering the amount of inward investment it receives.
Chinese Power Mongers
Given the Chinese’s eagerness to invest in large energy companies, it’s no surprise that the largest areas of investment from the Chinese are Energy and agriculture and David Cameron’s planned visit to see Xi Jinping, China’ President, quickly follows the proposed joint investment of £16bn in an updated nuclear power plant at Hinkley. Although China has already invested in companies like BP, Thames Water and they own almost half of Talisman Energy, the UK technology sector is also set to receive a boost.
Chinese manufacturer Huawei is already heavily involved in everything BT has done as part of the upgrading process of the UK’s telecoms systems, but this telecommunications is one area where some raised concerns that Huawei’s involvement leaves the UK vulnerable to espionage although there is no evidence to suggest that anything untoward has or will take place.
About the author: Shaun Thomas is a director with several successful years of successful business management to his credit. He now works in a freelance capacity for Liberis.co.uk and views the twelve months through optimistic eyes and is confident of enjoying sustained growth. Please leave a comment or connect with me on Google+ or LinkedIn if you want to discuss my views further.