Last night saw Boris Johnson form his first cabinet as Prime Minister; IW Capital offered IFA Magazine a few thoughts about the implications.
Sajid Javid has been named as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Priti Patel as Home Secretary and Dominic Raab as Foreign Secretary. The cabinet has mostly been filled with MPs who backed Brexit and many have made it clear that on the 31st of October the UK will leave the EU, with or without a deal. Now the conversation will begin again on what this exit will look like, especially for small business.
Business as usual
While certainty is what most businesses have looked for in the last three years as conversations around Brexit have rumbled on, the small business sector has remained resilient throughout this despite entrepreneurs searching for certainty and strong leadership.
Equally, investor appetite has not floundered amidst Whitehall shifts. New figures show that the first half of 2019 saw the second highest amount of investment in SMEs on record. The amount invested in equity deals grew 15% from the second half of last year to £4.5 billion, with the number of deals rising by 10% to 889.
These statistics show a clear movement to get on with business and confidence among small businesses looking to grow and scale, despite uncertainty around Brexit.
One of the other areas that has reached record levels of investment in the SME sector is through Government-backed schemes; adaptive, nimble and innovative small businesses are taking advantage of investor confidence to grow their business at a time of great change. In 2017/18 the Enterprise Investment Scheme experienced the highest amount of investment ever with close to £2 billion of support for growing start-ups and scale-ups.
Relaxed about the future
Luke Davis, CEO of IW Capital, was upbeat about the prospects for SME growth and investment:
“It is easy to get wrapped up in the theatre of Boris, Brexit and his cabinet, but this will not affect what is a hugely confident and innovative community of investors and entrepreneurs. So far in the small business arena we have seen more deal flow than ever as well as a huge amount of demand from investors.
“What businesses and investors are looking for now from the new Prime Minister will be to secure more certainty around Brexit, in whatever shape that may be. Boris has been pro-business in his discussions thus far and so SMEs will be hoping that he can make good on this promise, after what has been a challenging time for some firms.
“Our investor base is not too worried about the eventual outcome of Brexit as much as the fantastic opportunities that exist in growth start-ups and scale-ups. Whatever happens, businesses will adapt, overcome and take advantage of change. New sectors will be created, in the same way that the financial crash gave rise to FinTech. Here’s a problem, let’s find an opportunity.”