MORE than a quarter of businesses in the East of England are positive about current trading conditions, putting them among the most optimistic in the country. Research from Clydesdale Bank shows that 28.4 per cent of companies in the East thought that business was getting easier, the highest response along with the North West, with 41.2 per cent confident that their business will grow in the next year. Just six per cent of companies fear that they may not last the year. The sectors most confident of growth are IT & telecoms (62 per cent), manufacturing (61 per cent), and travel and transport (61 per cent), with healthcare (31 per cent) and education (30 per cent) the least secure. Martin Guildford, managing partner at Clydesdale Banks Financial Solutions centres in Cambridgeshire, said: It has clearly been a challenging time for the regions businesses and times will continue to be tough. While it remains important for businesses to retain a grounded and balanced perspective, a growing number will be looking at how they can take advantage of emerging market opportunities. As we can see from the research, confidence is beginning to return but many of the pressures remain. While most businesses are confident that they will succeed, ensuring they have the right level of support is key. Clydesdale Banks Investing for Growth initiative is designed to help businesses to take advantage of quality growth opportunities. While it wont be right for every business, Investing for Growth will provide businesses with investment finance to increase cash flow and ease debt commitments. This will help enable companies to invest cash back into their businesses.