Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire businesses demonstrate resilience and measured growth in face of cost-of-living crisis, survey reveals
Slow and considered growth, stability and optimism for the future – that was the key take away from Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP’s Situation Report (SITREP) and accompanying business insights survey, which was conducted across the region through January – March 2022.
The survey gathered intelligence from almost 800 local businesses of different sizes and sectors, the largest intelligence gathering exercise the LEP has ever undertaken. It has enabled the LEP to gather “real time” insights to remain in-touch with the issues that businesses are facing and work with partners to find solutions to business challenges. The findings will assist the LEP’s strategic planning to identify local needs and provide support as needed.
Although challenges posed by wider issues including inflation, global politics and post-pandemic recovery were acknowledged by many recipients, business owners on average said that they were largely confident for the year ahead, scoring a 7 on a scale from 1-10. Further to this, 74% of businesses said they had cash reserves to last for at least six months, signifying a stable approach to the coming months.
One of the main challenges identified in the survey was rising inflation rates. Many businesses in their infancy stated their lack of experience operating in this area, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP offers a wealth of training and resources for businesses, including guidance on money management.
Recruitment and staff development remain a significant challenge for business owners. While 37% of businesses said they were currently hiring – a statistic demonstrative of growth and optimism – 39% reported that their vacancies had been difficult to fill. This is particularly prevalent in sectors such as digital and healthcare, where highly skilled workers are required.
There is a wealth of training and resources available for businesses from the SSLEP, including guidance on money management, recruitment, up-skilling and training over a wide range of sectors and specialisms.
You can read the report summary here: SSLEP SITREP Results Summary
Alun Rogers, Chair of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said:
“At a difficult time for many, it’s heartening to see a vote of confidence from our resilient local business network. While we understand there’s an air of uncertainty, most SMEs are putting their best foot forward and continuing to scale up slowly and carefully. It’s a time of optimism for our region
This business survey provides us with an invaluable and unparalleled level of insights into the needs of our business community. As the voice of business, we are using this data to work with local stakeholders and our national Government partners to help provide the business support that is needed most. And while there are challenges facing businesses, we are here to help however we can. SMEs can contact the LEP or the Growth Hub for assistance with a myriad of potential challenges, including digital transformation, training staff and recruiting skilled workers, and enhancing green credentials. If you have a business in Stoke-on-Trent or Staffordshire and you think you would benefit from some support, please do pick up the phone to the LEP.”
If you feel that your business would benefit from a helping hand to get onto a growth programme or apply for a business grant then a qualified Growth Hub Business Advisor can help. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub is contactable on its Business Helpline – 0300 111 8002.
The business insights survey data can be broken down in a number of ways, including by locality. Any partners who would like access disaggregated data please contact Joanne at the LEP on mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.