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South East Start-Ups State Their Global Ambitions


Three quarters of new and innovative young companies in the South East polled in a recent survey conducted by the SEEDA Enterprise Hub Network have international growth aspirations for their businesses.

And 83 per cent of those surveyed already have a planned exit strategy, suggesting strong entrepreneurial charateristics in the region, with over a half, 56 per cent, planning a trade sale of their business, 14 per cent aiming to float their business on the stock market, and three per cent preferring a merger. Just under a fifth, 17 per cent, do not plan to sell at all and intend to remain with their business.

While setting up in business is clearly tough, 93 per cent of those surveyed said they would do it all over again; and a similar percentage, 94 per cent, highlighted the support of the Enterprise Hub Networks in doing so, claiming they would recommend its services to a colleague. Seven in ten businesses cited introductions to specialist people or businesses and focussed networking effected by the Enterprise Hub as ‘very relevant to their business development’.

The survey also revealed that over sixty per cent of business believe that having an experienced team, a unique selling proposition, sales and marketing skills and knowledge of the market were all very important factors in giving their business growth potential. This third Enterprise Hub Network annual survey specifically explored the value of tailored business coaching among early stage businesses.

The twenty Enterprise Hubs operating throughout the region are made up of teams of commercial experts with experience in developing pioneering and innovative young businesses which have significant growth potential. Their remit is to offer tailored support and guidance to overcome business challenges and to speed up getting the products and services to market.

More than 230 individuals and companies took part in the study and of these 18 per cent had yet to start their business, 13 per cent were in their first year of trading, nearly thirty per cent in their second and the remaining forty per cent had been trading for more than two years.

Eighty per cent of businesses benefiting from Enterprise Hub Network support are under three years old and it is in these early years that businesses are at their most vulnerable and in most need of coaching through the challenges they face, as Marilyn Huckerby, Enterprise Hub Network Director, explains:

“The coaching and support that Enterprise Hubs provide help build robust business models to exploit the growth in international and emerging markets very early on in their development, and to raise the investment they will need to address these opportunities.

“Enterprise Hubs go beyond diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of the business idea. Our Hub Directors and their teams will coach the client company intensively over an extended period to overcome business development challenges – ensuring very firm foundations are built early on in a company’s development.”

Other survey results revealed that:

  • protectable intellectual property was deemed very important by nearly half of those interviewed (49 per cent) and being first into a market was cited as very important by 39 per cent This aligns closely to key criteria cited by investors that they look for in fundable propositions – so bodes well for these businesses being able to attract investment;
  • two thirds (66 per cent) of those interviewed were generating revenue - six per cent more than those interviewed in a similar survey last year – indicating that even when young companies are making early sales they are still vulnerable and in need of support;
  • 87 per cent of businesses saw themselves as working with the Enterprise Hub in a year’s time and a similar number said the South East was a good place to start a business. It is therefore encouraging to see from the research that the businesses realise this and regularly tap into the coaching support. More than a third link into their local Enterprise Hub team once a month and a quarter are in touch with them on a weekly or fortnightly basis. A further fifth are interacting at least once a quarter.

Contact: Enterprise Hub Network Director - Marilyn Huckerby
Publish Date: 10th December 2007

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