finance

Fears of ‘third wave’ cloud growth plans for Scottish mid-market firms



As the vaccine rollout continues across the globe, new research has revealed fears of political turbulence and a third wave of Covid-19 are the two most pressing concerns for Scottish mid-market businesses looking to grow internationally.

Business adviser Grant Thornton commissioned Censuswide to survey 611 senior decision makers in UK mid-market businesses – defined as £50m to £500m turnover – with 50 mid-market businesses in Scotland taking part.

The four main challenges to international growth for Scottish businesses were: a third wave of Covid-19 (42%), political regime change (42%), supply chain resilience (34%) and mobility of talent (34%).

With changing restrictions and continued uncertainty for many, two thirds of the mid-market business leaders surveyed across the UK believe that it is harder to grow their business internationally today than it was pre-pandemic.

Andrew Howie, managing partner in Scotland and head of international for Grant Thornton, said: “The risk of a third wave of the virus in the UK adds another layer of complexity to the uncertain trading environment that businesses are already dealing with.

“While the UK’s success in vaccinating its own population adds a level of confidence, this needs to be mirrored internationally in order to be able to move forward collectively together.

“Political uncertainty and regime change is also clearly playing on the minds of some Scottish business leaders exploring international growth.

“Though a third disruptive wave of the virus is the other joint primary concern for mid-market leaders at this moment, businesses are also dealing with the ups and downs of UK economic forecasts, ongoing complexity in their supply chains, and trying to embed some of the positive changes to the ways of working that have been accelerated by remote working.”

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