UK entrepreneurs hungry for capital in 2018, new EY research reveals


The EY Fast Growth Tracker interviewed 371 business owners about their fundraising and exit plans. It found that funding remains the biggest hurdle to British business success, with 50% of business owners agreeing it is the largest constraint on their growth.

  • 55% of businesses expect to grow their revenue by at least 50%, with tech the most bullish
  • 84% of entrepreneurs across the UK aim to fundraise up to £10m each over the next 12 months, according to a new report from EY released today. 

Despite the majority of those surveyed completing a funding round in the past 12 months (61%), many found this process to be a distraction to running their business (40%).

However, this has not stopped UK entrepreneurs from being hungry for capital. Seventy-two per cent of those wanting to fundraise in the next year are looking for up to £5m in capital, with a further one in six (17%) wanting to raise over £10m.

Alumni from EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year programme also took part in the survey. The programme, which brings together fast-growth business leaders from across the UK to network and share insights, celebrates the role entrepreneurs play in powering the UK economy. 2018 will mark the programme’s 20th Anniversary in the UK, and is now open for nominations.

Joanna Santinon, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Lead Partner at EY, said: “Entrepreneurs, with their innovative and optimistic outlook, will help to lead the way for UK business. In a rapidly changing world, where others see barriers, entrepreneurs will often see opportunity. Other businesses can learn a great deal from their ‘can-do’ attitude, passion and sense of purpose, which contributes to their fast-growth and ambitious plans for the future.”

Revenue growth ambitions

More than half of the businesses surveyed (55%) expect to grow their revenue by 50% or more in the coming year, with another one in five (19%) expecting a minimum increase of 20%. Tech entrepreneurs are the most ambitious when it comes to their growth, with two thirds (65%) expecting to increase their revenues by over 50% or more in the next twelve months.

Targeting overseas investors

Business owners are often not looking to UK-based venture capital to fund this growth. A majority (62%) are targeting overseas investors, perhaps driven by the fact that over a third (39%) were unable to find suitable investors in their previous funding round.

Richard Goold, EY Fast Growth Platform Partner, commented: “Funding has historically been, and continues to be, a hurdle to growth for the country’s entrepreneurial businesses. This research shows a disparity between matching ambitious enterprises with suitable investors, leading many to look overseas to find the growth capital they need.  

“To make our start-ups a British business success, more routes to funding need to be created to ensure that these bright, entrepreneurial businesses are enabled to flourish.”

Read the report in full.

To read more information, click here.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.