The majority of small business (64%) in Manchester say that for the first time ever, they are facing inflationary pressures across all parts of their business – from supply chain, to energy, to wages and rent – ​​which is having an adverse effect on Investing in skills and training, according to new research from eBay UK.

Almost six in 10 (58%) of the small business owners surveyed said that their finances were ‘stretched’, leading many to fear the knock-on impacts that this will have on their business. Worries about future growth are a clear concern, with 71% of small business owners stating that rising costs, alongside inflation, will hold them back from investing in their business. For some, the impacts are more worrying. Four in 10 (40%) said that it could force them to let people go, whilst almost a third (31%) said that a lack of investment could force them to go bust.

Murray Lambell, General Manager, eBay UK said, “Small businesses have weathered constant challenges over the past two years, and while they deserve huge credit for their resilience, they’re under even more pressure now in the face of the cost of living crisis . Many of the Manchester businesses we’ve spoken to have told us how rising costs, combined with the lack of investment in skills and training, are holding back their growth and knocking their confidence.

I’m looking forward to heading to Manchester as the next stop on the eBay Business Roadshow to deliver the training and support needed to help entrepreneurs build thriving businesses for the long-term.”

This is not to say, however, that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit isn’t thriving, with growth ambitions very much on the radar of small businesses in Manchester. Focusing on supporting these entrepreneurs to start up and scale up their businesses will be a key way to ensure that the government’s leveling up ambitions become reality, for all parts of the country, including the North West.

The new research of small business owners comes from eBay, who will this month bring the national eBay Business Roadshow to The Lowry at MediaCity on the 27th and 28th May.

Launched in Sheffield last month, this is the company’s first ever physical regional roadshow and investment program in the UK, where it will turn up at the doorsteps of small businesses across the country, helping entrepreneurs to both start up and scale up their online businesses.

In partnership with Small Business Britain and the British Chambers of Commerce, the event will include speeches from Kumaran Adithyan, Director of Trading at eBay, and Michelle Ovens OBE, founder of Small Business Britain before a packed afternoon of informative sessions and networking for businesses in the area.

Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain, said, “eBay has a long heritage of supporting small businesses so we’re delighted to be partnering with them to bring the eBay Business Roadshow to small businesses in Manchester. Initiatives like this will help them move past the challenges of the past two years and look ahead to recovery and growth, providing much-needed support networks, training and funding. We can’t wait to meet Manchester’s fantastic entrepreneurs – and for them to meet other the amazing businesses attending to continue this local peer support together.”

eBay is offering up to £1m of dedicated support as part of the Roadshow, and will offer Mancunian businesses attending the Roadshow thousands of pounds worth of funding grants in addition to support packages.

Business Clinics with eBay, Small Business Britain and the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce will also be held on-site, providing free 1-2-1 advice and solutions to address the challenges of budding entrepreneurs and small business owners – from marketing to accessing finance to selecting the right delivery provider. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from successful local businesses, including Sustain Furniture, who set up on eBay in the midst of lockdown and have now built a successful business with annual sales of over £350,000.

Small businesses can sign up to attend the event here.

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