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Entrepreneurs Panel

Charlie Mullins
Laura Tenison
Steve Purdham
Debbie Pierce
Michael Oliver
Julie Meyer
David Pollock
Jeremy Roberts
Jennie Johnson
Brian Hay
Richard O'Sullivan
Tony Caldeira

Business confidence starts to fall

The economic recovery looks set to slow down during the second half of the year following a fall in confidence among businesses.

Nearly a fifth of businesses now feel less confident about the coming year than they did during the second quarter, according to a regular confidence index produced by accountancy body ICAEW and accountant Grant Thornton.

The survey results suggest the government's emergency budget and the forthcoming comprehensive spending review, had hit business confidence.

The survey's regular business confidence index fell four points during the third quarter to 21.5, indicating the recovery could slow down.

Michael Izza, chief executive of ICAEW, said: "UK businesses that came through the recession are now facing the challenge of surviving the recovery.

"They still don't know what the future holds and are uncertain about how the mood of fiscal austerity will impact the economic recovery."

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Five Minutes With

David Hughes sums up his entrepreneurial career to date thus: four spectacular successes and two failures. He founded the sports retailer Allsports and achieved turnover of £180 million before a vicious price war meant decline, administration in 2005 and a sell-off to rival JD Sports.

It took Richard Shonn, managing director of 151 Products, three years to find a warehouse big enough for his requirements.