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Vaccine boosts small business confidence

31st December 2020

  • 70% of small businesses feel more confident about the future following the vaccine

  • 77% are planning to hire more staff in 2021, with 41% wanting to start in Q1

  • Men showed greater confidence in their business’ performance for the coming year

Thursday 31st December 2020, London: Research carried out by the Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA) and Starling Bank has found that 70% of British small business owners feel more confident about 2021 now that the vaccine has been rolled out.

However, 42% of respondents do anticipate that they will need financial support in the new year. A minority (13%) predict that they will need this support in the form of a loan, with three per cent saying they intend to borrow from friends and family and the remainder unsure where they will find the money. Some 39% say they can survive in 2021 without recourse to additional financial support.

The digital bank and GBEA surveyed over 500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to find out their predictions for 2021. As many entrepreneurs plan for the new year ahead, this survey reveals a snapshot of how they intend to prioritise investment in their businesses in 2021. Some 17% said they would increase marketing spend, 16% will focus on improving technology and 8% plan to spend on training more staff.

Despite the many challenges faced by SME owners in 2020, the survey suggests that the vaccine has reignited their optimism for the new year. More than half (56%) of business owners said they will ask their colleagues to get the vaccine once it becomes available and most (74%) will be getting the vaccine themselves.

When asked how their business was expected to perform in 2021 men were far more confident than women that they would outperform 2020. On a sliding scale of 0-10 men rated their confidence level at 8.7 and women at 6.7. This may be due to the types of businesses they own.

Francesca James, GBEA founder said: “There is no denying that there has been huge disruption and uncertainty for entrepreneurs and their businesses this year. However, as this survey has shown, there is a real feeling of optimism among the entrepreneurial community.

Throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed so much resilience, tenacity and agility that has fuelled ongoing innovation and with the ‘new normal’, entrepreneurs will be at the forefront of finding opportunities that will lead to greater wealth and job creation in the economy.”

Anne Boden, Founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “As we head into the New Year it’s great to see the continued resilience and optimism of many British business owners who have been hit very hard by the pandemic. At Starling we hope to continue to support them by listening to them and developing features that will help their businesses grow.”

Note to Editors

503 respondents were surveyed by The Great British Entrepreneur Awards & Community during the period December 21st - December 28th 2020.

About Great British Entrepreneur Awards (GBEA)

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards & Community celebrates and supports entrepreneurs across the UK via a network of peers and their mentors. Founded in 2012, the awards programme now receives over 3,500 applications annually and visits 8 cities. More at

About Starling Bank

Starling is a leading digital bank, founded in 2014 and voted Best British Bank in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Its retail banking app offers personal, business, joint, Euro, USD, child and current accounts on Android and iOS. The Starling Marketplace offers customers in-app access to third party financial services. Starling also offers ground-breaking B2B banking and payments services. It has opened 2 million customer accounts, including more than 285,000 limited company, sole trader and business accounts.


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