Entrepreneurs would prefer to Remain, survey finds

THE entrepreneurial community has signalled its emphatic support for the UK to Remain part of the European Union.

Less than one-fifth (19 per cent) of entrepreneurs have said they plan to vote Leave in the EU referendum on June 23, a survey by Glasgow-based Entrepreneurial Spark has found.

But more than half declared to the start-up accelerator that not enough impartial information has been made available during the debate. The survey also found that around 50 per cent of entrepreneurs fear the referendum will have an effect on business.

The survey by Entrepreneurial Spark was based on the responses of 192 entrepreneurs, who are based at its hatcheries in Glasgow, Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Belfast and south of the Border.

Asked about the effects of the UK remaining within the EU, the entrepreneurs cited red tape and bureaucracy caused by legislation as a big concern. Immigration and border control, taxation, and the cost implications of UK funds going into the EU were also cited.

Entrepreneurial Spark founder Jim Duffy said: I’d always encourage entrepreneurs to embrace opportunities – whatever the outcome of the vote, look at how it can benefit your business and if you encounter problems that can’t be resolved move on quickly. It’s great to see so many of our chiclets engaged with the EU vote and looking at what business implications there could be.”

Meanwhile, a Scottish telecoms boss has warned uncertainty over Scotland’s relationship with the EU is undermining the country’s export performance. Tom Sime, whose Exchange Communications does business in 105 countries, said the referendum is “certainly adding to the concerns for businesses considering a foray into the export market”.

Noting that factors the oil and gas industry downturn is also affecting Scottish exports, Mr Sime said: “It’s difficult to plan in the long-term when you don’t know what state of play will be after June 23, which can massively impact upon supply-chains and target forecasts.”

Mr Sime’s comments came after statistics from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs showed Scottish exports in the first quarter were down 6.1 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2015.

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