IoD: Entrepreneurs back UK as start-up location after Brexit

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Institute of Directors Press Release.

There is still strong support for the UK as a place to start a business after the Brexit vote, with a new survey of nearly 200 entrepreneurs showing 85 per cent would still pick Britain as their home over other European cities. 6 in 10 members in the Institute of Directors’ ‘IoD99’ group for start-ups are yet to see an impact from the referendum, but over half are worried leaving the EU will hinder their growth over the next five years.

Their specific concerns relate to their ability to sell their goods and services to the EU in future, and their access to a wide pool of EU workers. While the future shape of the UK’s immigration policy is up in the air, the second highest priority for entrepreneurs is digital infrastructure, which is in the gift of the Government to act on now.

The IoD welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement at the recent Autumn Statement of a £740m investment in a 5G mobile network, but the business organisation thinks the priority should be improving the existing 4G network. It was highlighted earlier this week by the National Infrastructure Commission that UK mobile phone users still suffer from ‘digital deserts’ where internet coverage is poor.

Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“The UK has created a healthy environment for entrepreneurs in recent years, and this survey confirms that it is still a great place to set up a business. The desire to build a successful enterprise, and at the same time to make a positive social impact, is driving more and more people to found a company.

“Brexit will inevitably pose challenges for new businesses, particularly in being able to recruit the right people to enable them to grow rapidly. New industries are providing opportunities for British workers, but specific skills in developing areas are always scarce. Even after the UK leaves the EU, our immigration policy will have to remain open to the best and brightest from across the world.

“We won’t know the outcome of negotiations with the EU for at least a couple of years, but there is plenty our politicians could be doing now to help start-ups weather the uncertainty to come. Access to fast broadband speeds and adequate finance are headline issues for entrepreneurs, and should be priorities for the Government.”

Go to press release and access full survey results.