The biggest ever survey into the issues and concerns of businesses across the Midlands is underway as part of a Government campaign to get companies ready for Brexit.
Around 18,000 businesses are to be contacted over the next few weeks as part of a major telemarketing programme across the region’s Growth Hubs.
The Coventry and Warwickshire LEP Growth Hub is collating the responses and will carry out detailed analysis from across businesses which are part of the Midlands cluster – the Black Country, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Worcestershire and The Marches.
This is part of the Government’s Get Ready for Brexit £108 million national campaign to ensure that businesses are as well placed as possible to handle the withdrawal from the European Union in whatever form.
In Coventry and Warwickshire, 241 businesses have already responded to the business intelligence survey within three days.
Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said a third of businesses have carried out little or no preparation for Brexit.
But he said there is a need for information since traffic to their website had increased by 69 per cent in the last four weeks with the Brexit page offering support having risen by 4,008 per cent.
He said: “This is the biggest deepest dive into the business community that has ever been carried out in the Midlands. Often we carry out surveys which involve a couple of hundred businesses but to be engaging with 18,000 businesses will mean we can capture intelligence on a larger scale to feed-back to Government. We want to know what we can put in place to help them as the UK prepares to leave the EU and the early indications are that there is a degree of Brexit paralysis.
“It has highlighted that many businesses are not prepared to invest in moving to new premises or buying machinery until they know the outcome of the negotiations that are taking place. The guidance on the Government website is very worthwhile and I would urge anyone as a starting point to go there because it only takes 15 minutes. The challenge is that when you have gone through this process it gives quite a lot of data that businesses are saying to us they are struggling to interpret and that is where our Growth Hub account managers can help.”
Humphrey said as well as capturing evidence relating to Brexit, businesses would be asked about challenges they are expecting post-Brexit and beyond.
“We are keen to extend the conversation from just Brexit and individually as Growth Hubs across the Midlands we now have the resource from Government to engage further with the business community,” he said. “We can gather economic intelligence and find out their concerns which can help Growth Hubs plan our business support to make sure we are providing the service which businesses need.Skills is one of the biggest worries and by being better informed, as a provider of support, we will be better placed to address the challenges that businesses are facing.”