Sarah Ward at BOE Genesis Initiative 

CEO Amanda Fergusson of the Greeting Cards Association and CEO Of the Giftware Association Sarah Ward outside the Bank of England

Sarah Ward, CEO of The Giftware Association was once again invited to attend one of Bank of England’s Genesis meetings, to discuss the threats and opportunities to SMEs in today’s social and political environment. Sarah has attended previous years meetings alongside other association bodies such as the Greeting Card Association, The Car Park Association and various other membership bodies with the unique opportunity to share their members’ views on the current positions of SMEs and what is affecting them.

There are 5.7m SMEs in the UK which account for over 99% of private sector firms and 60% of total UK private sector employment. SMEs also account for 73% of all net private sector job creation in the UK, creating about 2m jobs since 2010. With these SMEs essentially the backbone of industry in the UK, Discussions at the meeting focused a lot on Brexit and what will happen after and how can an SME prepare.

Sarah Ward commented: “It’s an incredibly proud moment when you get to stand up in front of a committee to present The Giftware Association’s members’ views. It is sometimes the only chance that these government initiates get to touch upon real data and opinions from the UK’s many SMEs. They learn a huge amount from what we present, and it gives me an opportunity to also learn what is happening in other industries that can affect the giftware worlds.”

The Giftware Association sent a survey our to its members prior to the meeting to collate our members views, and the general snapshot of the companies who participated was that there was a very real fear of how Brexit will affect them and their businesses. The results painted a picture of an industry that is worried about the future, with confidence being significantly lower than the previous 6 months’ by a massive 71%, and a similar result in lower expected business growth’ at 54% than in the previous 6 months, and as a direct correlation to Brexit, 52% of members surveyed expected the export environment to stay flat, probably whilst in the transitions stage, where the government and the EU will be working towards a hopefully shared goal. The one opinion that is shared by the majority is that the cost of exporting and business will rise, and the smaller the company the more they will suffer.

To find out more about the results of the survey or to request a copy then please get in touch with a member of the Giftware Association team who will be happy to help and share this data.

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