There is still strong support for the UK as a place to start a business after the Brexit vote, according to a new poll of entrepreneurs by the Institute of Directors.
The IoD survey of nearly 200 entrepreneurs found that if they had to do it again, 85% would still pick Britain as the home for their business over other European cities.
However, the majority (57%) also said that the results of the referendum had made no impact on them so far; 8% said the impact had been positive while 34% said it had been negative.
Looking forward, 54% said leaving the EU would hinder the growth of their business, 17% said it would boost growth and 30% said it would have no effect.
By far the most important issues for the businesses polled were access to skilled employees - deemed very important by 53% - and digital infrastructure, which 47% considered very important. Other key factors included access to finance, business and personal taxes and the cost of labour.
Asked to assess the importance of key elements in the forthcoming Brexit negotiations, respondents described the following as "very important":
- securing continued membership of the single market in services (68%);
- ensuring that EU citizens currently in the UK can remain here as residents (62%);
- ensuring that - in future - UK start-ups have access to a wide pool of skills from the EU (61%);
- securing continued membership of the single market in goods (57%);
- ensuring grant funding remains available to UK research institutions and universities (57%).
Simon Walker, IoD director general, said: "The UK has created a healthy environment for entrepreneurs in recent years and this survey confirms that it is still a great place to set up a business. Brexit will inevitably pose challenges for new businesses, particularly in being able to recruit the right people to enable them to grow rapidly … Even after the UK leaves the EU, our immigration policy will have to remain open to the best and brightest from across the world.
"There is plenty our politicians could be doing now to help start-ups weather the uncertainty to come. Access to fast broadband speeds and adequate finance are headline issues for entrepreneurs, and should be priorities for the Government."