Barclays Eagle Labs identifies 2022 as a year of growth for business
Entrepreneurs in the UK predict strong business growth of 37% for 2022, as new research from Barclays Eagle Labs highlights support that could help unlock further growth for early stage businesses.
58% anticipate an increase in turnover in the next year, with the South West (72%) the most optimistic region, followed by London (67%), the South East (66%), Wales (60%), the East of England (60%), the Midlands (56%) and the North West (55%).
Barclays Eagle Labs, a growing network of business hubs across the UK, found that businesses are also set to expand their workforces, as more than half (55%) anticipate hiring more staff in the next year, with London (83%) followed by the North West (68%) and the North East & Yorkshire (61%) having the highest proportion of businesses looking to do so.
The predicted growth reflects a continued trend, as payments data revealed increased activity among small businesses, with transactions to SMEs having risen by nearly two-fifths (38%) beyond pre-pandemic levels2.
And, despite the challenges of the past two years, business owners have proven resilient, as 66% of founders would still recommend starting a business to others, with only 11% in UK responding that they would not.
However, business founders also pointed to the additional support they need to unlock their potential, as over a quarter (29%) responded that access to mentor and investor advice would help to grow their business, 28% would like help in accessing networks and 26% would benefit from access to growth programmes, such as business accelerators.
Jon Hope, director of Eagle Labs at Barclays, said: “It’s great to see the optimism and resilience business owners across the UK have shown, despite the challenges faced in the past two years.
“By uncovering how the ambitions of start-up businesses can be better supported, we’re confident that with the right support and advice, and access to networks and mentorship that we know are crucial, UK entrepreneurs will continue to drive innovation and economic success nationwide.”
One business that has benefitted from the support Eagle Labs provides to early stage businesses is Beobia. Winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2021 Barclays Entrepreneur Awards, BeoBia is a sustainable pet food supplier that has devised an at-home, desktop pod to grow insects to feed a range of domestic pets.
Part of the Eagle Labs AgriTech network, first time founder Thomas Constant has benefited from the connections and mentoring that Eagle Labs provides and following a first round of seed funding in 2021, the company is now moving to mass manufacture its pods and bring on more employees, drawing on support from Barclays Eagle Labs to help expand the business as it looks to grow into new markets and territories.
Thomas Constant, founder of BeoBia, said: “At BeoBia, we really want to have an impact and to play a part in making the world a better place by giving people the tools to live more sustainable lives. Central to this is providing affordable options to be self-sufficient, which is what our product is.
“However, one of the biggest challenges founding this business was learning as I went, and that’s where Eagle Labs has been so helpful. Looking back, I could probably have condensed the first 12 months of the company into three months as we were wasting a lot of time and energy on unnecessary things.
“In particular, the networking and mentoring Eagle Labs has facilitated has helped us enormously. As the saying goes, ‘your net worth is your network’ and the cross pollination between companies that Eagle Labs enables is its biggest strength.