We previously looked at what Brexit was likely to mean for UK startups, but now some time has passed – and what Brexit will actually mean is starting to become clearer.

Article 50, which will start the process of the UK leaving the E.U, will not be triggered until the end of March. Theresa May has revealed for the first-time the firm UK objectives for Brexit. So what do startups need to know?

Theresa May’s speech

Theresa May has now confirmed that we are leaving the single market. The single market means that UK businesses have total access to the 500 million customers in the EU – no tariffs, and the same rules across all member states. The UK will still have to make payments to the EU in order to have access to some parts of it, such as to avoid certain tariffs.

May revealed that she is seeking a free trade agreement with the EU that will ensure we don’t lose out from leaving – and she has also confirmed that she wants to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in Britain, which is good news for businesses. More good news too came from her assurances that she is committed focus on keeping the UK at the forefront of innovation.

The bigger picture

The Federation of Small Businesses’ quarterly Small Business Index shows promising news from the last few months – although there was a dip in confidence immediately after the EU referendum result, a recovery is becoming evident. In the North West, for example, eighty-seven per cent of SMEs in the region are expecting to either remain the same size or expand over 2017. But what of the rest of the country?

Last year Company Check carried out a survey in order to analyse the impact Brexit has had on UK businesses so far. The survey revealed that a reassuring 50 per cent believe that Brexit has had no effect on them, and 15 per cent believe it has had a positive effect. However this still leaves 30 per cent who feel the lack of certainty and increased costs have had a negative affect on their business.

Other reports also revealed uncertainty mixed with optimism. Take the Brighter Business report by Opus Energy, for example, which found that 29 per cent of 500 SME decision makers interviewed for their report felt ‘more confident’ about their venture then they did pre-referendum. However this is tempered by the finding that 22 per cent said they felt a lot less so.

And to end on a small but cheering note – LinkedIn have revealed a 5 per cent growth in the number of microbusinesses setting up shop post-referendum.

Image credit: Jay Allen

Image copyright: Crown Copyright

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