The number of small and medium sized businesses in the UK has grown by almost 200,000 in the last year to reach 5.7 million according to new government estimates. UK SMEs are contributing over half the turnover for private sector businesses and employ 15.7 million people. So, what does the new year have in store?
In 2017 the European Union agreed it was time to move negotiations on from Phase One to Phase Two so what happens next? In a joint statement, business groups and influencers welcomed the development and called for the transition period to be agreed as soon as possible to give businesses time to prepare. They pledged:
“We will continue to work with the government to ensure that UK firms can overcome the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that a new trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world will bring.”
New data protection legislation
In May 2018 the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect with the aim of giving people greater control over how businesses use their personal data. A 450 per cent rise in the frequency of the search term ‘GDPR compliance’ indicates uncertainty about what the changes will mean for businesses and organisations. Research into how businesses are preparing for the changes has found that six in 10 SMEs are getting ready for the GDPR deadline, but 2.1 million are still not preparing. Read our guide…
The Autumn budget brought with it investment promises of £2.3 billion in research and development so businesses should be expecting to feel the benefits in 2018. The claim which is part of the industrial strategy is “the largest boost to R&D support for 40 years.”
Increase in cyber threats
There were 875,000 cyber attacks on British SMEs in 2017 and that number is expected to rise over the coming year. A lack of business awareness of the government Cyber Aware campaign has been highlighted in a new report with just 21 per cent of firms across the country claimed to know about the new standard despite it being released in 2013. It’s hoped awareness will increase in 2018.