Brand BritainThe English Cream Tea Company pretty much does what it says on the tin – it sells cream tea, picnic, gift and Christmas hampers. For Jane Malyon, the company’s “chief scone gnome” and MD, leaving the EU is an opportunity to focus on brand Britain. “I put my entrepreneur’s hat on during the lead up to the referendum,” said Malyon. “I had concerns about the change in the currency exchange rates and more barriers for European export, but also great concerns about the effect of Italy, Spain and Greece’s financial positions on other members of the EU. My concerns about Italy, Spain and Greece remain, so currently, in view of the referendum result, I want us to leave the EU urgently. “In terms of my business, I’m looking to Commonwealth countries for new export territories and seeking to embody everything great about Great Britain in my brand.” According to Malyon, since the vote the business has focused more on post-EU opportunities and “thinking globally”. In the future it will aim to become “even more British” in what it offers, and will source products from within the UK. “DIT (once UKTI) are really offering support for export in a way that wasn’t really there before – so the world has opened up,” she said. Over the next 12 months, the business will look to develop strategic partnerships, explore Japan and China as export opportunities, and develop online globally. Right now, Malyon is feeling pretty optimistic about the company’s future. “I think we’ll grow, expand and enjoy riding this Brexit vehicle, all being well,” she said.
Confidence soarsThe English Cream Tea Company is not the only business that expects good things to come – research from Aldermore Bank has found that more than four-in-five small and medium-sized businesses in the UK anticipate revenues to increase or remain the same in 2017. The majority of the SME owners questioned claimed that they did not expect negative impacts from the ongoing Brexit process, and 66 per cent claimed that it will either have a positive impact or no impact on their company. It is still very difficult to ascertain what Brexit-Britain might look like for UK exporters and importers a year or so from now, but small businesses are not likely to be cowed by a bit of uncertainty. Instead, the resilient entrepreneurial spirit should see that every opportunity is seized along the Brexit journey – and at the very least, things are about to get interesting.
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