AS the economy recovers, competition from post-recession start-ups is the biggest threat to one in five Welsh SMEs, research by business funder Bibby Financial Services has revealed.
Official data shows that the number of new UK businesses reached a five year peak in March this year. It is no surprise then that a large number of Welsh small businesses listed 'increased competition' as their biggest fear in today's brightening financial climate.
The SME Tracker, which surveys businesses with a turnover of up to £25 million and up to 250 employees, saw 22 per cent of businesses in Wales citing an increase in competition, which has come about as a result of the improving economy, as their biggest worry today.
Meanwhile, more than one in ten (18 per cent) believed that red-tape is the biggest challenge they face.
Nick Kindon, regional managing director for Bibby Financial Services in Wales, said: "This is certainly a different picture from just a few years ago and Wales has returned to its position as a breeding ground for innovation and entrepreneurship.
"The economic downturn has fostered a DIY ethos in the country, which is now paying dividends for the economy through both recruitment and output."
Other concerns include a lack of skilled staff (five per cent), rising raw material costs (18 per cent) and access to finance (six per cent).
According to official data from Companies House, there were 54,336 UK incorporations in March and figures have been steadily rising since 2009.