Over one-third of businesses (37%) who responded to a recent Surrey Research Park tenant survey plan to increase headcount by the end of 2020. These businesses represent a range of sectors including healthcare, MedTech, space, IT software development, professional services and immersive technology/games. Opportunities for growth have come from diversification amongst tenant organisations as a result of Covid-19 and an increased focus on accelerating innovation.
The research results, which also revealed that only 11% of tenant firms believed their businesses were not prepared for trading after the Brexit transition period on 31 December, highlight the positivity amongst a number of tenant firms based at Surrey Research Park.
There were, however, some concerns about the impact of Brexit, with 39% concerned about the impact on recruiting from European countries and only 11% of businesses believing that Brexit will result in increased global opportunities for their business outside Europe.
Almost three-quarters of respondents believe that all or some employees will be working in their offices from January 2021. The research, completed by founders, CEOs and Managing Directors of tenant firms, revealed that 79% have missed being office-based, citing in-person collaboration, learning from colleagues and socialising with colleagues as their top three reasons. Just over a quarter of respondents felt their businesses benefited from increased productivity when employees are in an office-based environment.
Regardless of whether tenants are office-based, opportunities for close collaboration with the University of Surrey were welcomed by tenants. Of the 50% of respondents who have collaborated with the University of Surrey, 40% have been involved with collaboratively funded projects, 20% were involved with directly funded research projects, 50% have had a University of Surrey placement student and 30% were involved with student mentoring.
Malcolm Parry, CEO, Surrey Research Park comments, “A number of our tenant firms are performing well against a very challenging economic backdrop and we are doing all that we can to support the 170 businesses based on our site, whether helping them to forge closer links with the University of Surrey, providing details about funding opportunities or helping them to market their businesses to other firms within the Park.
“The impact of Brexit on businesses is, as yet, unclear and this was clearly evident in the research results. In particular, one third are concerned about the impact on collaboration with European entities and over a quarter expressed concern about the impact on importing and exporting within Europe, particularly in terms of costs. However, businesses at Surrey Research Park have demonstrated resilience, innovation and drive over recent months and, as we enter another period of uncertainty, I believe they will continue to rise to the challenges they face.”