Research from the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) reveals that British investors are more likely to invest in small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which can demonstrate capacity to function on the international stage after the UK has left the European Union.
Conducted across a nationally representative body of more than 1,200 investors, the research found 15 per cent of participants considered an international outlook to be important when considering whether or not to invest in an SME.
However, this figure leapt among millennial investors who took part, with 41 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds surveyed agreeing with that statement. Almost half of the millennial group said Brexit was a key driver towards this attitude, as 47 per cent said they were more inclined to invest in an internationally scalable business since Brexit.
Investors in general reported that technological investments, such as drones and other automated devices, were growing in importance, which the study claimed was due to their easily transferable nature into international markets.
Among Scottish investors, 39 per cent said they viewed artificial intelligence as the most important technological trend in 2018. Drone technology, virtual reality, data collection and driverless cars also scored highly.
Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UKBAA, said: “The research reflects the huge range of innovative technologies, products and services being developed here in the UK and demonstrates a strong capacity for scale and market disruption.
“At UKBAA, we are supporting the UK’s tech growth with capacity building actions, including new regional angel hubs, combined with our new national e-learning programme on angel investing”.
The news follows research published in June by challenger bank Aldermore, which highlighted the importance of SME exports to the Scottish economy.
Its Future Attitudes report showed Scottish SMEs generated about £1.24 billion in revenue from exports over the last year. The data also revealed that a third of all SMEs currently export overseas, with 18 per cent expecting to do so within five years.
A strong majority (seven in ten) of firms surveyed believed Europe was their greatest prospect for growth in the short term, and it ranked the most favourable destination in the medium and long term.
Carl D’Ammassa, group MD, business finance at Aldermore, said the next five years could see strong progress for the SME sector.
He said: “We hope that small businesses can make the most of the opportunity to export to new markets and continue to deliver vital support to the wider UK economy.”