Europe's small businesses plan to expand in 2010

The second ‘DNA of an Entrepreneur' study carried out by specialist insurer Hiscox among nearly 1,000 small business owners in the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, also found that three in five (58%) of those polled are optimistic about the year ahead.

With the recession now officially at an end, over half (53%) of those questioned believe 2010 is a good year to start up a small business with nearly a fifth (19%) pinpointing gaps in the market caused by company closures as a key opportunity to capitalise in the economic upturn.

But despite growing optimism, one in five (20%) SME bosses are concerned that there is not enough support for emerging small businesses. In fact, the majority (65%) believe that government bureaucracy is threatening their country's entrepreneurial sprit, identifying four major barriers to setting up on your own:

  • Unfavourable taxation system (71%)
  • Inflexible labour laws (63%)
  • Burden of benefits and social security payments (58%)
  • Lack of support from government (37%).
However, when it comes to nurturing future business talent the UK topped the poll - a third (31%) of UK SMEs say our education system encourages individual ideas and dreams, compared to just 19% in Germany.

Alan Thomas, small business expert at Hiscox commented: "The SME sector is a strong bellwether for the rest of the economy so it's a great sign that Europe's entrepreneurs believe they are now in a sound financial position and well placed for growth in the second half of 2010, despite being more risk averse.

"But small businesses cannot lead the charge alone. The tough economic climate of the last two years has left many in a delicate position so it's vital that the right support is provided to breakdown any barriers threatening Europe's future entrepreneurial success."