Entrepreneurs signal the economy is looking up despite warnings over the impact of Brexit

Billy Bambrough
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Prime Minister David Cameron Visits Yorkshire
David Cameron has previously praised the British entrepreneurial spirit (Source: Getty)

Economic confidence among entrepreneurs has taken a big step forward over the last year.

The number of business owners who feel confident about the direction of the global economy climbed by 18 percentage points to 69 per cent over the last 12 months according to a survey from accountancy giant EY.

The UK economic outlook for entrepreneurs is also on the up. Of the 400 of those surveyed in the UK, 78 per cent are feeling positive – up two percentage points on the year.

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A surge in the economic outlook has lead to rise in the number of businesses owners planning to take on additional staff.

Over half (63 per cent) of UK entrepreneurs expect to increase their total global workforce in the next 12 months, up from 44.5 per cent of UK entrepreneurs anticipating growth in 2015.

“UK entrepreneurs are in a good place with rising confidence in the domestic and global economy underpinning plans to hire more than last year,” said Stuart Watson, EY entrepreneur of the year programme leader.

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The survey results come after the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cut its growth forecast for the UK due to impact of Brexit uncertainty.

The influential Paris-based group said on Wednesday that uncertainty surrounding the 23 June referendum has already undermined growth and revised its 2016 forecast to 1.7 per cent from 2.1 per cent.

However, today the manufacturers group EEF has reported the industry is continuing its slow crawl back to growth, despite facing uncertain conditions. And a separate report published by Markit last week showed UK manufacturing unexpectedly returned to growth in May.

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According to EY’s survey, finding new customers will be a challenge for businesses in the coming year.

Rather than focusing on deals, entrepreneurs see generating new business as both their top priority and biggest challenge in the year ahead, with 27 per cent saying that identifying, attracting, and serving new customers is their biggest challenge.

The survey also revealed the more disruptive and innovative the company considers itself the more people they hire and the faster they do it.

Globally, the most disruptive entrepreneurs – the 17 per cent of respondents who say they have changed all or many of the rules in their sector – are 58 per cent more likely to forecast an increase in their overall workforce.

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