In a national survey there has been an increase in the number of small businesses reporting better trading and a reduction of those experiencing problems accessing finance.
But the picture in urban parts of the West Midlands is more mixed with more than 50 per cent of businesses still reporting a decrease in trade – the highest in the country.
Many problems remain with longer payment periods being a key issue and evidence in the survey that businesses in urban areas are finding it tougher than their rural counterparts.
The most positive finding of the survey is a steady increase in business confidence with almost 70 per cent of West Midlands small businesses saying that they are confident about future prospects.
However, the survey still suggests that confidence is lower in the West Midlands than in any other region of the country.
“Any sign that confidence is increasing is good but we need to be very cautious because it is from a very low base,” said Hamid Salim, chair of the Forum’s Business Enterprise and Skills sub-group.
“It is also a matter of concern that there are such discrepancies between different parts of the country and it seems that the West Midlands continues to be hardest hit. We also know that businesses in disadvantaged areas where many minority ethnic people live also tend to be hit hardest by recession where problems such as high unemployment and shortage of access to finance are greatest.”
The West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum provides strategic advice to the regional development agency Advantage West Midlands and other partners.