SEMLEP Business Survey 2019
Introduction and background
1. The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) has a key role in
determining economic priorities for the region in partnership with the Local Authorities and
other stakeholders in the area. It also has a role in developing and undertaking activities
aimed at driving economic growth and increasing jobs in the South East Midlands region.
The 13 local authorities in the SEMLEP area include over 83,000 businesses and generate
an economy worth some £52bn annually1.
This report presents findings from the 2019 SEMLEP business survey. It is the fifth such
survey to be conducted by SEMLEP and covers the following issues:
• Quality of the local area as a business location
• Business engagement and support
• Business performance
• Employment, skills and training
• Perceptions about SEMLEP
3. The survey’s overarching purpose was to identify the economic challenges and
opportunities facing businesses in the area, in order to inform SEMLEP and local authority
approaches to the development and delivery of their economic strategy and support
activities. The analysis in this report builds a picture of the needs and priorities of
businesses in the region over time, including comparisons by business size and other key
variables (where sample sizes allow) and also a section dedicated to key sectors.
4. A total of 1,675 interviews were carried out via telephone over a six-week period between
October and November 2019, with a sample of businesses that was representative of the
business population in the area.
5. The survey was undertaken at a time when uncertainty around Brexit was particularly high
and at the forefront of businesses’ concerns, given the deadline at the time for Brexit of the
end of October 2019. This should be taken into consideration when reviewing the results,
especially around leaving the EU.
Quality of the local area for business
The majority of businesses rated their local area as a good place to do business, with 69%
giving a rating of 4 or 5 out of 5. This is an increase on the 64% seen in 2017 and
additionally the proportion giving the top rating of 5 out of 5 has increased from 30% to
7. The specific aspect businesses were most positive about was the availability of utilities
(such as energy and water); businesses with 50 or more staff were particularly positive
about this (although businesses in Creative and Cultural and High Performance Technology
showcase sectors were less so at 67%, and Food and Drink at 64%). Also rated highly was
the quality of local schools and colleges, the attractiveness of their surroundings, the
availability of suitable premises and the road network (See Figure 1).
Businesses were less positive about the affordability of both housing and business
premises in the area, the local support available to business, the local town centre and the
public transport. Positive ratings of the public transport have decreased considerably since