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Jo James: Uncertain times after referendum but I’m sure we’ll rise to challenge

By Jo James, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive

It is still too early to talk about the impact of the referendum.

At the moment, we only have anecdotal evidence, but going forward the Quarterly Economic Survey results will give you an insight into the current and future status of Kent business leaders and enable you to monitor business trends.

Conducted just prior to the referendum, responses for this second quarter survey were significantly down.

The EU headquarters in Brussels
The EU headquarters in Brussels

This just goes to show that businesses didn’t feel certain enough about the future to complete it.

It’s disappointing to see that there are still problems areas around recruitment and skills.
Businesses are still finding it difficult to recruit skilled workers at all levels.

If we are to continue to grow as a business community we need a pool of qualified candidates or those that have the aptitude and aspiration to work.

The South East generally is continuing with growth and I am pleased to say Kent is faring better than most, as was the case during the 2008 recession.

Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jo James
Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jo James

As a county we don’t have any major industries. Our business make-up is from a range of sectors.

These are small to medium-sized companies that are not selling traditional products into a set market but innovative companies with a diverse range of products and customers.

This is certainly a strength in any potential downturn.

We are now entering uncertain times and the economy may well stagnate for a while, but I am sure Kent businesses will rise to the challenge and look to innovate profitably, developing new services for their customers and new customers for their products.

Going forward, the Quarterly Economic Survey will give us all a greater understanding of the position of our business community.

If you would like to take part in future, please email paul@kentinvictachamber.co.uk

More from the Quarterly Economic Survey

Skills shortage affects 86% of firms trying to hire in Kent

Confidence in future profits and turnover weakens for Kent companies in run up to referendum

Rising raw material costs impacting firms in Kent

Chris Price: Let's hope signs of business nervousness do not turn into a standstill after the EU vote

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