Brits are reliable, smart and polite but lack passion

25 October 2016

Global business leaders see British entrepreneurs as reliable, smart and polite but fall short on passion and inspiration.

New research from Barclays has found the British reserve may be holding UK businesses back, with more than half of overseas leaders saying they were too polite, should be better at negotiating deals, and better at communicating with them.

Despite this four fifths of overseas business leaders were confident that the UK was a good place to start a business, with Brazil, the US and China most optimistic about Britain’s potential to create the next Apple or Google.

A further 79% consider the UK’s start-up scene an important global growth business hub for entrepreneurs, and would consider investing in a UK start-up.

Trading post-Brexit

The UK’s EU referendum outcome also failed to dampen enthusiasm for British companies:

  • 61% of international business leaders say it will have no impact on how they work with  UK entrepreneurs
  • 84% believe UK products and services will continue to offer good value
  • 76% say they are confident that Britain will have a solid plan in place
  • 74% say ‘Made In Britain’ is a highly attractive brand
  • 60% say Brexit will actually improve their trade dealings with British companies.

Silicon Roundabout confused with TV show

There is still more global confidence in US start-up, with nearly 60% of those polled thinking they were more likely to succeed than UK counterparts. The majority (89%) had heard of the US’s Silicon Valley but just 65% had heard of the UK’s Silicon Roundabout, with a third thinking the latter was a TV show.

Richard Heggie, Head of High Growth and Entrepreneurs at Barclays, said: “Our research shows UK entrepreneurs are held in high regard by business leaders globally, particularly in Brazil, China and the US.  However it’s critical that, against the backdrop of Brexit, the UK does everything it can to maintain and crucially build on this.”

“As a recognised global hub for high growth businesses, we must do all we can to declare we are open for business for these economic dynamos.”

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