80% of Irish SMEs plan to invest ahead of Brexit, versus only 51% in the UK according to new research from Bibby Financial Services

  • 57% of UK SMEs believe their country will slip into recession this year
  • Irish SMEs focus on staff development and training, while increasing cash reserves is primary concern for UK businesses

While 80% of Irish SMEs plan greater investment in their business in Q2 of 2019, only 51% of UK businesses intend to follow suit, amid the uncertainty caused by Brexit. This is according to new research from Bibby Financial Services, a leading provider of financial support and funding solutions to SMEs.

Figures from Bibby Financial Services’ SME Confidence Trackers for Ireland and the UK also reveal the extent to which Brexit is weighing over the two countries’ business communities, with 41% of UK SMEs believing it will have a negative impact on their business, and 32% of Irish SMEs similarly seeing it as the biggest challenge to their business. Confidence is particularly low in the UK, where 57% of SMEs believe the country will slip into recession in 2019.

However, despite the greater rate of investment in Ireland, the average amount invested by both Irish and UK SMEs has fallen over the last twelve months. In the UK the average investment figure stands at just over £65,000, down from over £100,000 in Q1 of 2018, while in Ireland SMEs are planning an average spend of €110,000 over the next three months, down from €142,000 twelve months ago.

The research also points to the divergent approaches adopted by UK and Irish SMEs in their preparations for Brexit. In the UK, businesses have focused on building up their company’s cash reserves (21%), establishing new supply sources for goods (15%) and greater stockpiling of goods (15%).

In Ireland, by contrast, the main areas of investment are staff training and development (42%), digital and IT capabilities (33%) and additional machinery and equipment (33%).

The SME Confidence Tracker, produced by Bibby Financial Services, is a national survey of over 200 small and medium sized enterprises across the Republic of Ireland and 1,000 businesses in the UK, conducted on a bi-annual basis. Full reports for Ireland and the UK are now available.

Mark O’Rourke, Managing Director at Bibby Financial Services Ireland, says: “The research shows the differing approaches of Irish and UK SMEs in the face of continued Brexit uncertainty. In general, Irish SMEs remain more optimistic than their UK counterparts, and are focusing on investment in order to grow and future-proof their businesses as much as possible.

“Worryingly, however, over half of UK SMEs expect the country to enter recession this year, and there has been a marked reduction in investment in response to this.”

Bibby Financial Services Ireland is a leading provider of financial support and funding solutions to over 10,000 businesses worldwide. The company helps businesses to thrive and grow in domestic and international markets by providing bespoke financial assistance and a wide range of specialist and working capital funding options.

Bibby Financial Services Ireland’s funding portfolio includes invoice discounting, factoring, export finance, foreign exchange services and specialist funding for a range of sectors. The Irish operation was established in 2006 and has an expert team of 30 employees based in Sandyford, Dublin.

For more information about Bibby Financial Services Ireland, please visit: www.bibbyfinancialservices.ie

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