As we approach its year anniversary, there’s one thing front of mind for the bulk of The Leap 100 firms: Brexit.
“Get on with the negotiations” is the overriding message from the fast-growth businesses this quarter, with continued irresolution plaguing future decisions. “Potential customers are a bit wary to strike up new business with us because there is too much uncertainty in whether a deal reached will become logistically or economically unviable in two years,” says one respondent.
Further, concerns over maintaining good relationships following our EU divorce are worrying many of The Leap 100 firms. As one person says: “ensuring it remains as easy as possible for UK businesses of all sizes to trade with Europe and the rest of the world” is salient.
“The domestic market is too small for many firms to reach the scale that they need to compete internationally, and so ease of cross-border transactions and trade will be critical,” he adds.
The need to retain talent is also vital – and for many businesses that means unadulterated access to the bloc.
“All of our clients have a high percentage of European staff and it will make it challenging for them to grow at scale if they can’t maintain their hiring at the same pace,” says one, when asked what government should do to ensure firms can scale up.
“Cut a deal in the EU negotiations to ensure the UK retains access to the top tech talent,” says another. “We have 57 nationalities represented and 46 languages spoken within our team – and that will suffer without access to EU talent.”
It’s not all Brexit, however. Domestic concerns over the chancellor’s proposed business rates hike are worrying some.
A few call for “reform,” with one respondent suggesting that “the government should look into making companies with a turnover of less than £250,000 exempt from business rates.” He says that “office space is very expensive, especially in London, and the added expense and administration of business rates during the start-up phase is a burden that new businesses would benefit from not having.”
But what about the General Election? A change in government could be a cataclysmic impediment for growing businesses. Out of the three main parties, The Leap firms are in line with national polling: 51 per cent believe the Conservatives have “the best policies for supporting fast-growth businesses.” And Jeremy Corbyn’s well known anti-business stance shines through: more chief executives chose “none of the above” than the Labour Party.