On the 23 June 2016 over thirty million people turned out to have their say on whether the UK’s future remained in the European Union.
When 51.9% voted to leave the EU it caused the pound to crash globally and left half a nation enraged with talks of betrayal – 18 months on, we are still waiting for a change. We met up with Goodwille, a patron of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, who have been helping businesses from Sweden expand their operations to the UK for the past 20 years to find out exactly how Brexit has impacted their business and Swedish businesses decision to enter the UK since the referendum.
Have you seen a slow down in Swedish businesses entering the UK?
Brexit seems to be raising a lot of questions, but not influencing company’s decision to enter the UK market. The Swede’s are naturally risk averse, so at some point during client meetings we usually have to say, “Don’t mention the B word”, but they are usually just looking for reassurance. It seems to have become a conversation starter rather than a major factor in deciding whether they enter the UK. Despite all the uncertainty caused by Brexit to date it has had little impact on us here at Goodwille. Britain remains one of Europe’s most attractive markets for foreign investment and 2016 was our strongest financial year to date.
In my opinion most businesses who are serious about the UK realise the opportunity outweighs the current risk and the high-profile retail chains, along with the smaller start-ups we helped enter the UK from Northern Europe last year reconfirms this. Let’s not forget, the UK is still one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.
How would a hard Brexit impact Goodwille & businesses in the UK?
In 2016 the EU countries accounted for 48% of good exports and 53% of imports to the UK. With this in mind it is going to be in everyone’s best interest to keep the strong European trade links, so I just can’t see a hard Brexit happening by any stretch of the imagination. The UK has been a stepping stone in to North America for countless European businesses. The UK has a population three times that of Scandinavia, a pool of talent and is the tech capital of Europe.
Britain has always had big global trading ambitions. Brexit should see the best of this, making the UK a very enticing place to grow your business.
What would you say to those working in the UK from the EU?
There are over 2 million Europeans working in the UK at present and over a million British expats living across Europe. Brexit is a political issue, and there is surely no wish to eject such a large number of hardworking Europeans. Keep an eye on the embassy website for the official information and do not believe everything you read in the press.
What advice would you give to any Swedish business looking to the UK?
The UK is still a great market to do business in. Yes the rules may change over the next few years with Brexit, but Goodwille is a business with over 450 companies, many of which are facing the same problem. As such Goodwille is uniquely positioned to solve problems related to any changes that might occur and help our clients swiftly and efficiently. Ensuring the client can minimise the effects of any downside.
Goodwille have been helping foreign owned businesses enter the UK market for the past 20 years. To find out more about how Goodwille can help you in the UK, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org