Brexit: SME’s Hopes and Fears



ParisEmma Jones, founder small business support group, Enterprise Nation, said:

“Britain’s small businesses are keener than ever to trade with Europe. This week we’ve been in Paris with a group of home grown food and drink entrepreneurs that have identified Europe as a massively important trade route and are developing sophisticated products to suit that taste.

“They need to understand now what’s likely to happen with trade deals into the future so they can capitalise on this important market that is still very much open to British products.”


international trade

Paul Tombs, Head of SME Proposition, Zurich UK, said:

“Businesses with smaller workforces are crying out for clear communication around work permits and movement of workers. Hopes of expanding the workforce have plummeted among the majority of the UK’s SMEs in the past 12 months and there is a crisis looming as employers gear up for a scramble to get and keep skilled workers.”

“The number of UK SMEs reporting serious concerns about potential overseas trade regulations that could surface and badly harm their business has risen. Since the Brexit vote, International trade has jumped from one uncertainty to the next, and UK businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to gauge where they stand.”

“Political uncertainty has knocked confidence and the number of SMEs reporting a good business environment is rapidly receding. UK businesses need clear communication, quick resolutions and sound advice about where the economy is heading.”


Dr Christos Tsinopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Operations & Project Management, Durham University Business School, said:

“As the UK is leaving the EU and the impetus for common regulatory frameworks decreases, there is a risk that in the longer term UK manufacturers will become less attractive partners to do business with.

“The good news however is that UK manufacturers have been very innovative, building significant capabilities in several sectors, which may be difficult to replicate elsewhere. As the negotiations are gathering momentum, and more information is becoming available, small and large manufacturers will be continuously assessing how these hard won capabilities will be affected by the new landscape. During this two year negotiation period every snippet of information will be used to evaluate the shorter and longer term impact.”



Chris Bryant, Partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said:

 “The Article 50 letter will get the most attention, but two other events this week will have a greater bearing on how Brexit affects businesses.

“First, the draft Great Repeal Bill is set to be published on Thursday. The way in which the bill allows the government to amend EU laws as it incorporates them into domestic law will be hugely significant. This isn’t a simple copy/paste exercise. There are huge policy decisions to be taken across all sectors just to make the laws work on a standalone basis. The task ahead of government is immense and businesses will want to make sure their concerns don’t slip through the cracks.

“Second, the scope of the draft EU mandate will be significant. Donald Tusk has said that he will issue draft guidelines within 48 hours of the Article 50 notice. However, he only has the power to issue guidelines on the UK’s withdrawal and not on the future Free Trade Agreement, which has to come from another EU institution. Whether Tuskish guidelines are accompanied by guidelines on a Free Trade Agreement will be critical. Without them, the European Commission will have no mandate to negotiate on the future UK/EU relationship.”



Lee Murphy owner of accountancy software Pandle, said:

“Though it may prompt some UK SMES to start thinking about the implications of Brexit on their business, the triggering of Article 50 this Wednesday should be nothing to fear and if I’m honest, I don’t think it will impact small businesses.”

“We can expect the pound to drop slightly following this news announcement as it will remind investors and businesses that Brexit is coming, however this dip should be just that, a temporary lull which will soon bounce back when buyers snap up the currency at a lower price.”

Karen McCormick, Chief Investment Officer at Beringea, said:
“Article 50 being triggered can only bring us a step closer to clarity on the impact of Britain’s exit from the European Union. Thus far, the UK’s technology industry – like everyone else – has been plagued with uncertainty over how the public’s decision will affect operations and future prosperity.
“As Theresa May enters into her negotiations, access to the single market and a guarantee for European citizens to stay in the UK will be high on the priority list for the UK’s tech community. The reality though, is that this is a complex process and not everyone will be happy with the outcome – there will be winners and losers. We therefore need to look at what we can be doing as a community to navigate the challenges ahead. Being proactive about closing the huge skills gap that exists in the UK will be critical. We need to nurture homegrown talent by  encouraging young people to  engage in STEM subjects, as well as upskilling and reskilling professionals that could be an asset to the sector. Inevitably, this will be a slow, evolving process, but the investment of time and money now means that we will reap the benefits later.”
Markus Kuger, Senior Economist, Dun & Bradstreet, said:
“Theresa May’s plans to start Britain’s withdrawal process from the EU will set off a series of tough negotiations. The complexity of Brexit poses unique challenges, with overall sentiment and fiscal numbers continuing to paint a mixed picture: although forward-looking indicators are still reasonably strong, they have deteriorated since the start of the year and, simultaneously, inflation has registered its highest reading since Q3 2013. In this vein, it’s far too early to realistically assess the potential political and economic impact of Brexit – a real bone of contention will be the controversial departure bill, which may well see the UK pay in excess of £60 billion to officially leave the EU.
“With negotiations about future EU-UK trade relations expected to take longer than the two years available, it is likely that an interim agreement will have to be struck, and we do not expect full independence to be secured until the 2020s at the earliest.”

Tarlochan Garcha, CEO at peer to peer property lender, Kuflink, said:

“Following the Referendum last June, there was a period where everything came to a standstill. However, we feel that Brexit has already happened. The UK economy has reset and is once again thriving.

“The UK has a genuine desire to succeed and show the EU that we are better off on our own. I believe our economy will continue to prosper, and I have no doubt new opportunities for UK companies to work with Europe will present themselves.

“The property is likely to remain greatly unaffected once the UK leaves Europe. Realistically priced properties in good locations are selling, often above the asking price – this is proof that the property sector has weathered the Brexit storm and it’s business as usual.”

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