Britain’s unprecedented decision to exit the European Union has undoubtedly kicked off a period of uncertainty, but Brexit Armageddon has yet to transpire, says business and financial journalist Farah Khalique.

Official data shows that businesses are in fact keener than ever to borrow, investor confidence in London businesses remains buoyant and the UK stock market has soared to new highs.

Brexit has divided the nation, but it seems the UK business sector remains united. Small to medium enterprises are behind a huge surge in funding enquiries in August, according to figures from the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB).

The NACFB’s findSMEfinance platform found that enquiries for finance quickly exceeded £20 million within the first fortnight – the same amount as the whole of July and double that of a year ago. The figures are all the more extraordinary given that August is typically a sleepy month.

Adam Tyler, Chief Executive of the NACFB, commented that Project Fear “doesn’t appear to have rattled the SME community”.

London remains firmly open for business, and the capital’s firms are well used to navigating choppy waters.

Lucy Haynes, CBI.

 

Figures from the Office of National Statistics for the second quarter show a happy triumvirate of growing employment, falling unemployment and stable wage growth. Statistics for the period of July to September will show a clearer post-referendum picture, but these will not be released until later in the year.

Nevertheless, a survey of 186 firms by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and CBRE UK found that two-fifths plan to commit to their investment plans and half will keep hiring. It’s not quite the meltdown that the pundits forecast.

Lucy Haynes, CBI London Director, said: “London remains firmly open for business, and the capital’s firms are well used to navigating choppy waters. Many appear to have taken the decision to leave the European Union within their stride.”

Whatever happens, London is one of the world’s greatest tech hubs and it stands as a point of entry into the European market.

Ian Smith, Scale Computing.

 

Russell Gould, Chief Executive at new digital mortgage lender BlueZest, believes that some fintech companies are set to flourish. Since the initial upheaval of the referendum result, high-profile technology investment deals have resumed. Mastercard announced its acquisition of London fintech Vocalink for £700m and Japanese giant Softbank is pushing ahead with plans to acquire chip designer ARM Holdings for £24.3bn.

Gould says: “Technology investors have always had an element of risk to weigh up. While Brexit has indeed exacerbated that risk, the potential reward will still be enough to entice some, perhaps at lower rates and on a less frequent basis for the time being. But as the innovation continues, so will the people who see its potential and want to become part of it.”

Companies should feel relieved that new Prime Minister, Theresa May is putting small to medium businesses at the forefront of the agenda, believes Ian Smith, Technical Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Scale Computing.

“Whatever happens, London is one of the world’s greatest tech hubs and it stands as a point of entry into the European market,” Smith says.

“London is still ripe for technology investment, and we believe we will see businesses that invest in the right technology continue to flourish.”

You can find many more features and comment on the business landscape for New and Growing Companies in London in our latest edition of HomeWork. Simply click here to download our second edition which focuses heavily on the role of connectivity in business growth.