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How Small Businesses are Driving the UK's Economy

As the UK starts to bounce back from the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses are taking the lead. They show a remarkable knack for changing and creating creative solutions to power the country's economy.

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Remarkable Adaptation Amid Uncertainty

Despite a wave of unprecedented challenges presented by the pandemic, small businesses have proven their resilience, as shown by a survey of over 1,000 entrepreneurs, including graduates of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Business (10KSB) UK program

During the pandemic, an impressive 68% of businesses involved in the study transformed their business models, introduced new products or services, or both. This adaptability has led to increased turnover and employment and resulted in the introduction of unique offerings that were entirely new to the market.

Addressing the Skills Gap: A Stepping Stone to Economic Recovery

In addition to being economic contributors, small businesses are emerging as the potential solution to the skills gap that has become more pronounced due to the pandemic. These businesses are proactively developing talent, upskilling the workforce, and creating new jobs that align with the needs of a high-skilled economy.

For instance, Lawrie Abercrombie, a 10KSB UK alumnus and owner of Arcanum Information Security, has devised a program to develop junior staff members. Like many others across the UK, this initiative is setting the groundwork for a strong and skilled workforce to support the country's economic recovery.

Small Businesses: The Pulse of the UK Economy

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are more than just a significant portion of the UK's business landscape - they are the economy's lifeblood. These enterprises, which account for 99% of all businesses in the UK, generated an impressive turnover of £2.3 trillion in 2021, contributing a substantial 52% of the total private sector turnover.

SMEs impact the UK economy in multiple ways:

Fueling Employment: These enterprises create numerous jobs, employing approximately 60% of the UK workforce.

Championing Adaptability: SMEs' resilience and quick adaptability have proven crucial in surviving economic downturns and sustaining the country's economic productivity.

Innovation Pioneers: SMEs are innovation hotspots, proving that they can compete with larger firms and contribute significantly to the economy's growth with the right resources.

GDP Catalysts: SMEs play a significant role in the UK's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with family firms alone contributing a quarter of the total UK GDP.

Harnessing Digital Advancement

Small businesses leverage technology to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving digital world. Keenan's survey revealed that 88% of 10KSB UK alumni have expedited changes to their digital technology use, reflecting the digital transformation trend among small businesses in the UK.

Leading the Charge toward Sustainability

The survey also highlighted that small businesses are not only economic drivers but are also leading the way toward a more sustainable future. A vast majority (81%) of the surveyed alumni consider social and environmental factors in their decision-making process.

Small businesses are undoubtedly at the helm, driving the UK's post-pandemic economy towards recovery. Through their adaptability, innovation, and commitment to sustainability, these enterprises are instrumental in navigating the uncertain economic landscape, underscoring their vital role in the UK's economic resilience.

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