Europe’s leading businesses have now returned to growth and are focused on expanding their global reach, according to research published today by the European Business Awards, sponsored by HSBC. The research found that the next three to six months will see one in four businesses enter a new market, while 20 per cent of companies will launch a new product or service.
More than 500 European businesses across 32 markets, ranging from SMEs to major corporates, took part in the survey, representing the newly created ‘EBA Excellence Panel’. Made up of the continent’s leading businesses who have previously been recognised by the European Business Awards, the panel will offer biannual insights into the performance of European businesses.
The survey found that businesses were optimistic about the strength of Europe to compete globally, with almost half (48%) of all respondents identifying Europe’s skills, talent and Research & Development capability as the biggest opportunity for European businesses as a driving force of economic growth.
John Casey, HSBC Head of Commercial Banking, Continental Europe, commented: “There is much cause for optimism across the continent. Europe’s leading businesses are expanding in both developing and emerging markets, with a significant percentage launching new products and services. The shift to a knowledge-based economy continues apace and European businesses are responding with innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership.
“The EBA Excellence Panel’s opinions are a positive reflection of a global appetite for Europe’s products, services and skills and reiterating the critical role that Europe plays in the world economy. Our position in 80 counties provides the connectivity to allow European businesses to maximise these opportunities globally.”
Adrian Tripp, CEO of the European Business Awards, added: “The positive results may be surprising to some, but underline the versatility that Europe’s leading businesses have shown in order to emerge from the recession stronger, more agile and innovative than before. The results are also encouraging as they seem to indicate opportunity across all industry sectors.”
A significant number of businesses identified the emerging economies of Asia, South America and Eastern Europe as the greatest opportunities for growth (46%). However, the panel also highlighted that developing effective growth strategies to bring these opportunities to life is of paramount importance, with 42% of businesses identifying this as the key challenge. A further 20% of businesses see the growth of emerging markets as a significant challenge as a source of competition.
The findings have been announced as 185 businesses across Europe gather to celebrate their nomination as country representatives in the European Business Awards. They will now progress to compete in the next stage to ultimately win a European Business Award. The European Business Awards, sponsored by HSBC, recognise Europe’s most innovative and entrepreneurial businesses. Last year more than 15,000 businesses were engaged by the Awards with entrants representing a combined turnover of more than €766 billion.