Green shoots in challenging times

Norfolk businesses attending the recent Chamber Bank of England lunch at Dunston Hall, Norwich highlighted that despite the tough economic climate, signs of improvement are showing in some sectors. Topics covered at the lunch included access to finance, for which a lively debate ensued on the best ways to access finance and what the UK banks were doing to support the SMEs. A discussion was also held on the merits of leasing business premises over buying them.

Blair Ainslie, MD for Seajacks, Great Yarmouth, said “both the oil and gas and the renewable offshore sectors were strong, but going forward, more definition was needed from the Government on subsidies for offshore wind, as the industry needed longevity and certainty for the next ten years, not just the next five, to maximise on growth potential.”

The engineering sector also appeared to be doing well and Paul Moughton, MD of Moughton Engineering said “despite the recession his sector of engineering was doing very well.” He put his success down to being flexible enough to react to his client’s needs at short notice. The retail sector highlighted that, whilst growth had been good last year, this year they were expecting to remain on a level, especially as the Olympics, the Jubilee celebrations and the weather all had an adverse effect on their growth.

The IT/Technology sector noted that whilst growth could still be seen in IT infrastructure, the bespoke software market was proving to be a fast growing market. Graham Duckworth, MD of Green Duck identified that he had seen a shift in where his company was aiming. He said “to accommodate work with some of my larger public sector clients has meant increasing staffing levels and the company is moving to new premises.”

All agreed that the successful businesses were those who had a ‘can-do’ attitude and had adapted to the new tougher economic conditions.

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