Younger business owners, aged between 18 and 35, were most optimistic about their business’ prospects, with 40% feeling optimistic compared to 32% for those aged 35 to 54, and 28% for over 55s.
Research from Nucleus Commercial Finance has revealed that a third of small to medium enterprise (SME) leaders are optimistic about the year ahead.
The research found that younger business owners, aged between 18 and 35, were most optimistic about their business’ prospects, with 40% feeling optimistic compared to 32% for those aged 35 to 54, and 28% for over 55s.
Business optimism also differed greatly by company size, with nearly half (47%) of larger SMEs - with 50 to 249 employees - feeling positive, compared to 39% for those with 10 to 49 employees, and 29% for those with one to nine employees.
However, SME leaders also reported a number of significant barriers to growth.
Nearly a quarter (23%) were most concerned about the economic impact of COVID-19, while other barriers included: ongoing lockdown (22%); reduced consumer spending (12%); Brexit (8%); the speed of getting the population vaccinated (8%); and lack of financial support (6%).
Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “It’s extremely encouraging to see that it’s not all doom and gloom for UK SMEs.
"While the last year has clearly been one of the toughest years in history for businesses due to the global pandemic, out of every challenge comes opportunity.
"SMEs have been resilient throughout the pandemic and I firmly believe we will see SMEs rise from the ashes to make a meaningful difference to the lives of their customers, as well as their essential contribution to the UK economy.
"As an industry, we are ready to support those businesses who are looking for finance to help them not only survive, but thrive in the current environment.”