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Small businesses around the world feel ignored by political decision making

Small businesses feel ignored by their countries political decision making, according to new research by Sage the market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems. In a year of political instability and changes across the globe, the research revealed that 63% of small businesses globally said they were unaware of government efforts to fight their corner or felt under-represented by politicians.

Sage’s research – which took in the views of over 5,500 entrepreneurs across 19 countries worldwide – also found that businesses in the UK are concerned about the global economy with 61% considering it is less stable than six months ago, yet 40% haven’t done anything to safeguard their businesses against this instability.

In comparison to businesses in the rest of the world:

- Business confidence is comparatively low in the UK. Just 37% feel positive about their business’s prospects over the next six months, compared to a global average of 52%.

- The top three concerns for UK businesses are currency fluctuations (19%), bureaucracy (16%), and joint thirdly lack of relevant skills and access to funding (both 11%), demonstrating the knock-on effect Brexit could be having.

- However, Brexit provokes a mixed reaction from UK small businesses. Although 38% say it will have a negative impact on their business, 35% of say it will have a positive impact.

- In line with the global outlook, almost half of UK small businesses (49%) believe that the Government can best help them through business support e.g. export opportunities, grants.

Stephen Kelly, CEO of Sage said: “Business builders are the heroes of the economy – working night and day to create two thirds of all new jobs in most developed economies. But so often, when the world’s policy makers discuss the economic picture, these entrepreneurs are excluded from the discussion. They toil away long after the rest of us have gone home, making personal sacrifices to grow their businesses, to support their families and their communities – especially during the busy holiday season."

Sage is launching the Forum for Business Builders, and is holding events like today’s to make sure the issues facing the world’s small businesses are recognised, debated and resolved.”

The news comes as Sage announces at a panel event today in Dublin with Ireland’s An Taioseach, Enda Kenny, the launch of its ‘Forum for Business Builders’. It will provide entrepreneurs and business builders all over the world with a platform to get their views heard, along with insight on business barriers, and policy support for entrepreneurs as they navigate uncertainty and turmoil.

Jacqueline de Rojas, MD, Northern Europe, Sage added: “Entrepreneurs and business builders are the powerhouse of the UK economy. But the research is telling us that a lack of stability is having a negative impact on their confidence, and potential currency fluctuations over the next six months could prove to be a significant barrier going into 2017."

We believe that by giving these businesses a voice, like we have today in Ireland, and encouraging them to embrace technology and the cloud, they will be far better equipped to negotiate the changing landscape whatever changes a post-Brexit world brings. Our hope is that this approach will also be adopted by the UK Government so that we can all work together to help UK businesses knock down the barriers holding them back.

To celebrate the businesses who work to ensure the rest of us enjoy the holiday season, Sage has also today launched a prize draw offering people the chance to nominate small businesses in their community who work through the holiday season. Running in the UK and the US, the winning businesses will win £5,000 and $5,000 respectively to spend however they choose. Nominations can be submitted via sage.com for the US and sage.co.uk for the UK. Sage’s Christmas advert demonstrating how small businesses are #ThereForUs can also be viewed here.