firms plan for 60pc

MANY Bosses at Yorkshire’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are looking to the future with confidence, according to a new survey.

The Business Growth survey from Santander Corporate & Commercial research found that SMEs with up to 249 employees in Yorkshire and the Humber are predicting average turnover growth of 60 per cent over the next five years.

It indicates that there is a strong outlook for short-term growth, with more than half (57 per cent) of SMEs in Yorkshire and the Humber reporting that growing their business organically is an immediate priority.

More than a third (38 per cent) wish to focus on retaining existing staff, while introducing new products or research and development (25 per cent) and hiring new staff (23 per cent) are also key short-term priorities.

Despite the strong optimism and renewed business confidence, businesses in Yorkshire still report challenges ahead. A tough trading environment was seen as a challenge to growth by 29 per cent of respondents.

The ability to hire and retain the right staff (23 per cent) and lack of management know how (15 per cent) also remain key challenges cited by business owners.

Jonathan Thompson, the Yorkshire and Humber regional director at Santander, said: “It’s extremely encouraging for Yorkshire and the Humber that SMEs, the lifeblood of the economy, are predicting such a high level of growth over the next five years.”

He was also pleased to see that many business leaders in the region are planning international expansion.