A campaign group called Business for a Peoples Vote, launched on Thursday, said that 57% of firms are in favour of a second referendum, according to a new YouGov poll, with support building day by day.
Sir Mike Rake, the former chair of BT, Justin King, the former chief executive of Sainsburys, and Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra beer, were among those fronting the group.
Hard-left group Momentum plotting to force Labour MPs to vote against Brexit deal
Rake said now it was clear that Britain was unlikely to clinch the type of Brexit deal many had hoped for, it was time to give the public the opportunity for a more informed choice than was available at the time of the first vote, when 52% voted to leave the EU.
In 28 months [since the Brexit vote] weve virtually got nowhere, Rake said. Were already seeing the jobs begin to move out, the loss of influence were beginning to experience right across the world … its now time to go back to the people.
King said the current choice facing the British public was a bad Brexit or a disastrous Brexit. The former boss of Sainsburys added: This time around it is a choice between the best Brexit the prime minister has been able to negotiate and a different decision. If anything, the democratic deficit is that we havent actually had a vote on what this is about.
Campaigners believe that despite the prime ministers insistence that there will be no second referendum, it would be possible if parliament votes down her Brexit deal.
The YouGov poll of more than 1,000 business leaders revealed that support for a peoples vote was strongest among large businesses, at 59%. Backing among small and medium-sized firms was 54%.
Tom Meyerratken, managing director of Wales-based hand tool manufacturer Carl Kammerling, which has an £80m turnover, said the Brexit vote had already affected the firm.
Meyerratken said plans to expand its warehouse in Pwllheli were put on hold the day after the Brexit referendum. The company is now considering expansion in Germany instead. This is the real economy, real people, real jobs, he said.
At least a dozen of Labour MPs are expected to support the agreement that the PM brings back from Brussels, which could prove vital to getting it through the Commons.
Bilimoria, who has built Cobra into a household name, said the Brexit process was like watching a train crash in slow motion. People are now waking up and seeing that this emperor has no clothes. Its happening day by day.
However Richard Tice, co-chair of the campaign group Leave Means Leave, dismissed the call for a peoples vote.
He said: Business leaders whingeing about uncertainty are the same people calling for a second vote, which would take a year, make us look ridiculous as a nation and thus add hugely to even more global uncertainty.
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MSPs voted 66 to 28 in favour of another Brexit referendum during a parliamentary vote that also exposed divisions within the parties over EU withdrawal.
Campaigners for a Peoples Vote described Holyroods support as momentous and expressed hope that it would persuade Westminster MPs to follow suit.
Holyrood was asked to express its view on the issue after the Liberal Democrats lodged an amendment calling for unequivocal support for a public vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal during a debate on the threat of EU withdrawal to scientific research.
The vast majority of SNP MSPs joined the Lib Dems, Greens and two Labour rebels to support the Peoples Vote.
But the SNP MSPs Kenny Gibson and Linda Fabiani declined to back another Brexit poll, despite Nicola Sturgeon declaring her support for a Peoples Vote recently.
They were among the 21 abstentions and were joined by the former SNP MSP Mark Mcdonald, who now stands as an independent having resigned from the party following an investigation into his conduct.
Most Labour MSPs abstained apart from former Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale and shadow justice secretary Daniel Johnson, who both defied the party whip to support the vote. The Scottish Conservatives all voted against it.
Although merely a symbolic ballot, those fighting for a Peoples Vote hope that Holyroods position will persuade Labour MPs to support it.
They also hope that it will harden SNP support for another vote at Westminster, where there is not yet enough support across the parties to back one.
SNP splits over the issue emerged last week when the long-serving MP Pete Wishart said he thought a second Brexit poll would create an unhelpful precedent for a second Scottish independence referendum.
The Perth and North Perthshire MP argued that a Peoples Vote would legitimise Unionist arguments that there should be a vote on the terms of Scottish independence in the event of a Yes vote in favour of leaving the UK.