'Number One Challenge for the UK is Talent'- Goldman Sachs' Pompey

68% of our 10,000 small businesses alone believe the UK is a good place to run a small business. However, you're absolutely right, they face a number of challenges. The number one challenge in our survey was not in fact access to capital. It was talent. They need upskilling of the talent pool. They're hiring, but they really need qualified talent. So that was their number one concern. It ranked above taxes. It ranked above access to capital. But the second one on that list was in fact access to capital because we all know that, you know, old adage it, you know, it takes money to make money. And these businesses want to introduce new products, they want to introduce new services and they need the capital to be able to do that. Look, I'd say this. I'm based at Goldman Sachs headquarters in York. I've worked there for 18 years. It is, you know, a sort of a human tendency, if you will, to think that the grass is greener someplace else. You know that the US small businesses have it easier and it's it's so much more difficult. You know, the grass is greener where we water it and these small business owners are saying we've got the grit, we've got the determination, we've got the great ideas and we're based here in the UK and we're committed to grow, but we need that partnership from the public sector in order to help us do that. But is there a ceiling on how big those businesses can grow because those issues, talent, access to capital become even bigger the faster a business wants to grow. You know, we did hear that from a number of the business owners that they're worried about, are they going to hit that? Are they going to hit that ceiling? However, they're saying, look, innovation is my pathway to get beyond that ceiling. And so they're thinking about, you know, whether new ways to use AI potentially in their business, whether it could help them with stocking or help them with coming up with new product ideas. And so even though they are in fact concerned about that ceiling, they're trying to already find mechanisms to to manage that. I don't know how long you're in the UK for, but I suspect that they'll be question Marks and conversations around the political landscape in the UK that has been pretty unstable. And this idea that does seem to be taking root now that Britain, both at a corporate, at a kind of micro level, individual level and government level, needs to take greater risks in order to get the returns that we want and to get better growth. Do you get any sense from the businesses and the people you engage with in the UK that things might be different under a new government? Is there hope, optimism around that? Does it make no difference at all? Because to be honest, the policies between Labour and Conservative are not enormously different right now. You know, there they are. Our, our business owners care about policy, not politics. But politics do influence policy, right? And so a number of the things that they're saying is the upskilling. They want a a government that really cares about upskill. Our our employees. They want a government that really cares about providing them the government support for access to capital. Late payment is a huge issue for our business owners. And so they want a government that's focused on their issues. Effectively, who has my best interest at mine? Who, who is concerns about the issues that are keeping me up at night? And they're really, you know, saying from the rooftops here are the issues we have. Please be responsive to that because we're committed to growing in this economy, but we need a partnership to be able to do that.

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