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Almost half of UK SMEs anticipating growth in 2015

A new report released this week by the government’s British Business Bank has revealed 46 per cent of UK SMEs are in line for growth in the next 12 months.

Reviewing the state of the UK financial market for SMEs, the ‘Small Business Finance Markets 2014’ surveyed 1,000 small businesses and found that although the vast majority of start-ups sought finance, many were unaware of all the alternative funding options available.

The most alarming statistic for the Government was that a third (33 per cent) of SMEs had no idea they could access funding through Government and Local Authority grants; indicating a need for better promotion of government schemes.

Although more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of small business owners were “confident in their ability to obtain external finance”, a further 65 per cent admitted they hadn’t heard of crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, export and import finance and mezzanine finance.

The most commonly known forms of finance among those surveyed were credit cards (95 per cent) and lease or hire purchase (85 per cent).

In terms of reasons for raising finance, the most common reasons among SME owners questioned were to purchase fixed assets (43 per cent) and to support cash flow (33 per cent).

Vince Cable, Business Secretary, believes the findings will give the Government a useful starting point in the battle to improve business awareness of the numerous alternative finance options available.

“This new research – the first of its kind by the British Business Bank – is a useful benchmark for measuring the challenges ahead in making British businesses aware of the various alternative finance options available in the market,” said Cable.

“This is particularly important given the findings also show that almost half of British small and medium enterprises plan to expand in the next year.

“I am confident more businesses will be able to realise those ambitions thanks to the new finance on offer, especially on the equity side.”

Image: The CBI

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