Start-ups wary of ‘threat’ posed by no-deal Brexit


Entrepreneurial businesses have significant concerns about the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit, the Institute of Directors has warned.

A survey of start-up members of the employers’ group found that only one in ten thought a disorderly departure from the European Union would be good for their organisations, while half thought it would damage their prospects. Brexit generally was considered to be more of a threat than an opportunity, the institute said.

In a survey of 972 founders of companies that are less than five years old, six in ten reported that sales had risen rise over the past year.

However, after worries about Britain’s economic conditions, Brexit concerns were cited as the primary factor having a negative impact on respondents’ organisations, ahead of taxation and the global economy.

More than half of businesses felt that staying in the EU’s single market would be better for them. compared with about one in ten who thought that leaving it would be in their interests.

One in three said that Brexit represented more of a threat than an opportunity to their business, while about one in six felt the opposite. Four in ten felt it was both.

Edwin Morgan, director of policy at the IOD, said: “It’s heartening to see that many start-up founders have been able to grow their organisations and prosper despite the wider political and economic upheaval and despite the inherent challenges of starting a new venture at any time.

“The UK is a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, helped by easy access to European markets, talent and investment. Many company founders are understandably nervous that this could be undermined and the prospect of a disorderly Brexit has caused disquiet within the start-up community. This makes it absolutely vital that politicians in the UK and EU redouble their efforts to find a deal, despite their differences.”

He said that new businesses “want to spend more time on creating great new products and services and less on dealing with political uncertainty. Making sure the process of Brexit is as smooth as possible is the best thing governments, both here and in the EU, can do to promote the entrepreneurial spirit that creates dynamic economies.”