In recent years, small Businesses have again become central to the UK economy. Since the turn of the century, the number of businesses in the UK has risen by over 40%, with many of these being small, independent enterprises.
With a wide array of expert business advice online, combined with government and European Union start-up funding to fuel economic growth in the national economy – entrepreneurialism should be stronger than ever.
So how will Brexit affect the small business boom? Long story short, as one of the few growing economies in the world affected by the global financial crash of 2008, it is the role of the United Kingdom to secure the best deal possible for our future businesses to prosper on the world stage. Leaving the EU is without a doubt a body-blow, and we mustn’t leave without being certain of a bright future for our small business economy.
The technological revolution is creating a new pathway for business ideas previously unheard of. The inevitable growth of a more globalised market will continue to reshape which businesses succeed in the cut-throat global economy.
Whether we prosper outside of the world’s biggest trading community will be a question which our current Conservative government must continually strive to answer.
When it comes to the European Union, commentators tend to focus on factors such as immigration, law and the economy – but the role the EU has played in establishing a level-playing field for start-up business and entrepreneurs has changed the landscape of customer choice, with more consumer freedom than ever to browse and experience a saturated but prosperous market, brim with new ideas and new experiences.
When launching a business, EU citizens are spoilt for choice in their selection of grants and funding programmes to take their start-up to the next level. On the European Commission’s European Small Business Portal page, users are offered the chance to apply for funding, or if they are in an earlier stage of their idea they can use A Beginners Guide to EU Funding to further research established business routes and EU services.
If this wasn’t enough, the EU’s SBA (Small Business Act) launched in 2011 with the aim of simplifying the regulatory and policy environment for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), promoting entrepreneurialism across Europe.
Such membership perks have also led to growth in more recent member economies, with Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia and Hungary all seeing an upturn, with more freedom than ever to trade inside the European Union – a stark contrast from when these countries were independent of the EU.
For UK businesses, there is a lot of potential in the work we’ve already begun. Small Business Saturday UK, a non-commercial, grass roots campaign urging consumers to shop local and buy from small businesses has sky-rocketed in popularity and has re-birthed the slow-food economy – with more people wanting organic, fresh produce from their local farmers’ markets instead of shopping at the supermarket.
Small Business Saturday UK also has a section allowing consumers to find a small business that will cater for their needs and provides the new tech-savvy generation with the ability to decentralise their shopping habits, offering greater choice and opportunities to try something new.
All of these exciting new developments are changing the way we shop, live and socialise. Whilst we have done well to nurture British businesses, we mustn’t forget how the EU has helped make a lot of this possible.
Leaving behind the EU was a brave choice and will reverberate financially for a long time to come – but stability in our small business market must be ensured. In the absence of EU grants, the government must make a commitment to invest in the growth of small businesses in the UK if they are to continue to thrive. Furthermore, in a time when the next big idea could come from anywhere in the world, the government must secure trade deals that are favourable to British SMEs, or risk missing out on the small business boom which is taking over the world.
Daniel is a 22 year old Undergraduate student studying Multimedia Journalism at The University of Salford and founder of Writer’s Chronicle Magazine.
The views expressed are those of the individual and do not represent the European Youth Parliament UK.