More than three-quarters of businesses in Surrey’s powerhouse economy are primed for growth in the next two years.
A survey for Surrey County Council and Surrey Connects has revealed that 77% of firms are optimistic about their prospects for expanding, with more than three in 10 already reporting annual increases in turnover or budget.
Almost 70% of the 1,300 businesses polled said they had innovated in the past three years, including connecting to faster broadband speeds, developing marketing strategies and investing in research and development.
Nearly nine out of 10 companies said they were drawing up plans to develop their business while around six out 10 reported that they had sought advice on areas such as hiring staff, access to finance and training.
Other key findings:
- The one in four companies exporting goods and services expect foreign sales to rise in the next two years
- Nearly 15% of firms employed more staff in the past year
- Struggling businesses largely blamed the recession, fewer new customers, greater competition and limited access to finance.
The county council has launched a raft of initiatives to support businesses and build on the £30 billion Surrey generates annually for the UK economy, which is more than cities like Birmingham and Liverpool.
These include rolling out high-speed broadband to make Surrey the UK’s best connected county, incentivising employers to hire more than 750 apprentices in two years on a £100m roads improvement project and pledging to ensure 60% of its spending is with local firms.
Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “Surrey packs one of the country’s biggest economic punches so it is hugely encouraging that our firms are clearly gaining confidence in their prospects for growth.
“Their success will accelerate Surrey and the nation’s economic recovery and that’s why the council is investing in infrastructure so firms run more efficiently, rolling out high-speed broadband to help do business online and creating hundreds of apprenticeships to provide the skilled workforce of the future.”
Mark Pearson, Chief Executive of Surrey Connects, said: “We welcome the findings which show that Surrey businesses are using their innovative and creative skills to drive future growth.
“As champions of smart economic growth, Surrey Connects will be using the results of this important survey to inform our Surrey Big Debate, which gives businesses the opportunity to voice their views on the important issues that they face in today’s economy.”