European-led SMEs operating in the UK are growing twice as quickly as their British counterparts, according to new data.

A study of 4,000 UK businesses by Opal Transfer, a money transfer platform, found that SMEs run by a European CEO increased their turnover by 10.5% from 2014/15 to 2015/16, whilst those run by a British director grew at a more modest 4.5%.

Opal Transfer says that this highlights how UK businesses must continue to attract entrepreneurial talent from further afield.


Since the Brexit vote, there has been uncertainty as to what the future holds for European entrepreneurs, who have created jobs and brought growth to the UK economy.

Tougher immigration laws mean that some European directors may choose to move back to the EU if no agreement can be struck between British and European politicians.

Opal Transfer managing director Gita Petkevica said the UK government has been “walking a tightrope” for the past year between growing the economy and reducing immigration, with experts suggesting that there will need to be a trade-off.

“Talented entrepreneurs should be encouraged and welcomed to the UK, regardless of where they are from,” she said.

“The UK has so far attracted the pick of the world’s entrepreneurs. Let’s not put that enviable position at risk.

“The UK business environment has enabled many of these businesses to flourish. It is important that the UK government continues to put forward policies that encourage the best in Europe and around the world to do create businesses and jobs here.”