22 April 2021

Over the past two years, our Growth hub has been at the frontline of supporting local businesses, expertly positioned to help businesses address the challenges faced by the UK’s transition from the EU.

As a strategic and constructive partner, we worked closely with government to help businesses prepare for the transition at the end of last year. This has continued to pose a significant challenge for unprepared businesses in the early months of 2021, and we have remained committed to providing impartial and free advice to help businesses adapt.


From January, we have delivered EU Transition Business Readiness Activity from additional Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding. This includes collaboratively partnering with Newable, Gatwick Diamond Business, Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Worthing and Adur Chamber, Brighton Chamber and Grow Global to deliver specific Brexit related business advice and support.


We have worked with Enterprise M3 and Thames Valley Berkshire to engage KPMG to deliver specialist high profile webinars covering the key topic areas related to Post Brexit transition including VAT and Customs.


Along with partners we also engaged Blueberry to undertake 600 surveys with businesses in Coast to Capital.  The challenges faced by businesses are primarily related to import/export documentation and costs, complying with new legal requirements and other standards and regulations including VAT and Customs.


As we look ahead to the future, we wanted to take the opportunity to reflect share the results of our business intelligence work, which gives insight into some of the key issues and opportunities arising from the EU Transition. The following data has been collected from over 400 companies, focused mainly on SMEs with a good spread in terms of number employed, turnover, sector and geography across the Coast to Capital area.




We can see that 68% of businesses have said that their business has been negatively impacted to a greater or lesser degree. Whereas 14% have told us it has been positive for them and 18% have said it has had no effect

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The chart below shows us the areas most frequently cited, with Legal Requirements, Regulations and Importing/Exporting being the top three issues effecting business.




From our intelligence, we have had the following themes consistently being reported to us, these were:


  1. VAT Registration and the delays in this being processed Europe wide. Feedback suggests that this is causing even more EU businesses to buy from within the block and potentially not use British suppliers again
  2. Supply Chain delays – continuing issues around both European and Asian imports, and the knock-on effect to British manufacturers needing vital components to finish goods
  3. Inflated shipping costs – we are still hearing of significantly higher shipping costs than usual (up to 500% more)
  4. Longer term, there are concerns from companies who send workers to service equipment for European customers


However, there have been some companies reporting good news,


  1. Continuing positive signs of recovery in some sectors (particularly manufacturing)
  2. Reshoring of some manufacturing and services
  3. Some businesses are reorienting towards other markets, primarily North America, Asia and Australia/New Zealand and there are early signs of new orders/contract wins.


We will be continuing with gathering intelligence to help understand evolving opportunities and challenges for businesses within our region.


The Growth Hub website is regularly maintained with links to partner support and government information. Keep up to date with the latest news, information and events on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter. To speak to a Growth Relationship Manager, complete the Request Form online.


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