Business confidence growing

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Confidence among South West businesses is showing signs of recovery with companies more willing to invest to fund their growth ambitions, according to chartered accountants Francis Clark.

Rather than rely solely on the banks, businesses are turning to an increasingly diverse range of funding streams.

Francis Clark points to the experience of its grants team over the last 12 months which has helped realise record grant offers for South West businesses of an average £1 million per month, which in turn has helped secure more than £36 million of additional investment.

A raft of recent national and regional data also suggests growing business confidence, with the most recent quarterly economic survey from Cornwall Chamber of Commerce showing that 30% of local businesses expect to take on more staff compared with 21% in the previous quarter, and 40% reporting an increase in advance orders or bookings. Two thirds of businesses expected turnover to increase in the next 12 months, and more than half expect profits to rise, both slightly up on the previous quarter.

Meanwhile a separate survey of 100 senior marketing decision makers in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset by Plymouth-based Fuel Communications published this month showed that three quarters expected to increase their marketing and advertising budgets this year, often seen as an accurate barometer of business confidence.

Francis Clark holds regular events to update local businesses on funding opportunities, including the popular Finance in the South West and Finance in Cornwall seminars.