Most political parties are on record with their complete support for SMEs and the government continues its quest of doing more [for SMEs] – but do they all actually know who they [SMEs] are, what they do and what they need?
Let’s look at some confusing facts. I have looked at a well-meaning leaflet published by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills titled “SME Access to Finance Schemes”. Looking through the leaflet I found a tsunami of schemes and it seems you may need a post graduate degree to work your way through:
Obtaining loans – Funding for Lending, National Loan Guarantee, Community Development Finance, Enterprise Finance Guarantee, Business Finance Partnership, Business Finance Partnership, Small Business Tranche, Start-up Loans
Obtaining investment – Seed Enterprise Investment, Enterprise Investment, Venture Capital Trust, Business Angel Co-Investment Fund, Enterprise Capital Fund Programme, UK Innovation Investment Fund
At the start of 2014 5.2 million SMEs accounted for 48% of private sector employment and the combined turnover of SMEs was £1.2 trillion. So clearly this is an important market and perhaps simpler support may be a better way to assist all the hardworking owners of SMEs.
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