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Investing to boost business optimism

2 March 2020

A quarter of local businesses are innovating in products or services today (up from 2 years ago), and nearly 70 per cent of companies rate this area as a great place to do business, the latest business survey reveals. However, more needs to be done to stem a slow decline in growth and business confidence.

In the findings of the independent business survey conducted by Public Perspectives on behalf of SEMLEP, preparedness and resilience for the end of the EU transition period and beyond remains dominant in the minds of business leaders and having enough supply of skilled labour is near the top their concerns.

SEMLEP commissions a business survey biennially to  gather views of a representative sample of over 1,600 businesses on a range of issues about economic performance and the future of the local economy. Including:

  • current and projected business performance 
  • vacancies, skills shortages and gaps
  • employee training, apprenticeships and work experience
  • business innovation
  • the South East Midlands as a business location and awareness of SEMLEP services 

Read a summary of the survey findings here:

Or, download the full report 

If you have any questions about the survey, contact SEMLEP's communications manager, 

The Business Survey was conducted by Public Perspectives, commissioned by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP).

To boost business leader optimism and help companies to kick-start their 2020/21 business plans, SEMLEP has secured further investment which is being utilised to provide more specialist one-to-one guidance and information to businesses looking for support to help plan and manage change in their business through the current transition period.

Alongside this, local companies can benefit from a growing programme of free, tailored business skills workshops, designed to assist business owners and leaders to tackle areas holding them back. A recent workshop was held at the National Apprenticeship Show in Milton Keynes, which brought together business owners, skills experts and qualified business advisers to look at the best solutions and options they have for recruiting and retaining talented employees. Workshops are held throughout the year, the calendar of current free business workshops and events can be found at:

SEMLEP has also launched a new offer, designed to support the area’s high growth businesses. Growth Curve is a new fully funded programme which aims to help businesses to gain a competitive advantage by supporting them to scale and grow. Run in partnership with the University of Bedfordshire, Cranfield University and the University of Northampton, business leaders can benefit from tailored support, through a mix of one-to-one meetings with high growth business advisers, a university masterclass, access to grant funding and, upon completion of the programme, access to the region’s high growth peer-to-peer network.

If you and your business could benefit from support through SEMLEP’s Growth Hub, get in touch today by email:

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