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Smaller firms predicted to lead re-balancing of the economy

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A swathe of innovative, agile young firms could help to shift the UK economy to a landscape in which manufacturing once more plays a key role.

That is the conclusion of a new report from HSBC Commercial Banking.

Entitled the Future of Business 2011, the report follows up on a previous study published two years ago.

In it, the authors identify those areas, both technological and traditional, in which small UK firms are well placed to thrive and succeed.

As well as predicting a resurgence in UK manufacturing, the report forecasts that entrepreneurial businesses will form the bedrock of the recovery.

In particular, high-tech firms specialising in new technologies, along with those which harness traditional craft skills for trade in emerging markets, are set to enjoy a bright future.

Cities such as London, Newcastle, Leeds, Brighton, Bristol and Glasgow will, it is predicted, become hubs in such areas as scientific research, new financial companies, advanced manufacturing, space industries and renewable energy technologies.

In the survey, which took in some 500 entrepreneurs, 75 per cent of businesses said that they produce their goods here in the UK and that they rely heavily on the skills of local and regional workforces.

Jacques-Emmanuel Blanchet, head of HSBC Commercial Banking, said: “Out of recessions come new trends, and this report crystallises how adaptable entrepreneurs and small businesses are shaping a new business landscape that British business is set to follow.

“This is an exciting and challenging time for British businesses, and change is definitely on the cards. It is evident that in a decade’s time we will have seen a redrawing of the industrial map of the UK.”