FEDERATION OF SMALL BUSINESSES COLUMN: County successes to be celebrated as small UK companies lead the way to growth

During March the Federation of Small Businesses will host the West Midlands final of our annual ‘Celebrating Small Business Success Awards’, with the winners of each category going on to the UK final in May, writes Lee Osborne, development manager at Warwickshire and Coventry FSB.

Small businesses seem to be beating the gloom

Despite all the recent challenges faced by small business owners and widespread mounting pressures, we have secured a record number of entries for 2022 and seen particularly strong submission for the categories of Start-up; High Growth, Business Product and Innovation, and Digital/E-Commerce businesses.

It is pleasing to see that, as in previous years, there is good representation from Warwickshire-based SMEs.

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Perhaps this is reflective of the fact that the county is home to some of the fastest-growing businesses in the region. Or that the region is home to enviable research and development assets, offering a unique opportunity for collaboration between local businesses, world class academics and researchers. There are also, of course, key strengths in technology-based sectors such as digital and creative, and gaming.

There’s good news at the national level too.

For example, at the end of December, we heard from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport that the UK tech sector had enjoyed one of its best years ever in 2021. Tech investment had more than doubled, and UK tech captured more than a third of investment into Europe. To set that into context, the £29.4bn raised by UK start-ups and scale-ups was double the figure raised in Germany (£14.7 billion) and almost three times that raised by companies in France (£9.7 billion).

Then in February, this success story was followed by the latest analysis from the Office for National Statistics. It showed that the UK recorded a 7.5% increase in GDP during 2021, the fastest growth of all the G7 nations last year.

With so much gloom dominating the headlines, it’s good to see that the tech and digital sectors in the UK, and right here in Warwickshire, are leading the way.