Tuesday 7 September 2021 4:38 pm

SMEs with young business owners saw stronger pandemic performance

New data has revealed that the age of business owners had a “major impact” on the performance of companies during the pandemic.

Companies with younger leaders at the helm reported lower reductions in turnover according to a report on small and medium sized businesses published by AXA. 

In 2020 companies run by decision makers who were aged between 55 and 64 saw an average reduction in turnover of 29 per cent, this fell to 12 per cent for 25 to 34 year olds and 7 per cent for businesses run by 18 to 24 year olds.

Data from AXA’s “Small businesses:
the big picture” report.

“The report finds that younger entrepreneurs have brought out new services and products, have listened to the needs of local clients, and have been much faster to deploy digital solutions,” said Claudio Gienal, CEO of AXA UK and Ireland.

A generational divide was palpable when it came to business adaptation during the pandemic. Reportedly 46 per cent of SMEs run by under-35s introduced new products and services during the pandemic, but only 40 per cent of over-35s did the same.

Likewise, 51 per cent of business owners under 35 claimed that helping people in need became a focus their business during COVID-19, compared to 40 per cent of over-35 year olds.

While most small businesses took a financial hit during the pandemic, SMEs, which make up 99.9% of all UK businesses, still contributed a total of £2.3tn towards the UK economy in 2020.

Read more: Thousands of UK small businesses ‘can’t repay Covid loans’