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SME funding support is more important than ever

Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore | 15:58 Wednesday 10th April 2019

Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and play a crucial role in boosting economic growth. It is vital that they receive the support they need — and now, at a time of political uncertainty, it has become more important than ever.

Even in ‘normal’ times, funding matters. Our latest Future Attitudes research shows that 19% of SMEs have missed a new opportunity in the last 12 months due to a lack of available finance. This has cost business owners on average £76,888 a year. Something needs to change. SMEs need flexibility and speed from lenders to help them manage their businesses, and it is our responsibility as an industry to work hard to do so.

Innovation is key

Innovation and progression are two key ingredients when building a successful business. However, making this happen can be near impossible if adequate cash isn’t available to develop the business and take it to the next stage. Without the necessary funding, business owners can’t scale up, attract skilled staff, upskill existing employees or stay up to date with the latest digitalisation trends. We found that 12% of SMEs feel keeping up with new technology is their biggest concern over the next 12 months.

It’s these things that enable a business to grow — and our research found that achieving growth is the main business priority for nearly 40% of SMEs. This reinforces the importance of SME owners being able to evaluate different funding options to help them do that.

Navigating uncertainty

We can’t hide from the fact that the current economic climate and ambiguous political situation is creating a number of challenges for SMEs. It’s tricky for them to plan ahead for growth at the same time as dealing with the ups and downs of unpredictable economic conditions.

Our research has shown that 37% of SMEs think the UK’s decision to leave the EU will have a negative impact on their business and 67% think the Brexit process is likely to create a lot of economic uncertainty. These obstacles mean SMEs need our assistance now more than ever before.

Understanding the needs of SMEs

SMEs have an essential part to play in enhancing UK productivity. They will be increasingly important post-Brexit and, as an industry, we need to ensure they have our backing. It is up to all lenders to understand how best to support SMEs, and to put that understanding into practice. This is something we are absolutely committed to at Aldermore — SMEs are too important to our economy to leave their success to chance.

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