LONDON’S small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have better knowledge of alternative finance options available for exporting than businesses in other parts of the UK, according to Growth Street.
The peer-to-peer business lender surveyed over 1,000 SMEs across the country about exports and business finance. It found that more than 50 per cent of respondents from London agreed that enough guidance is available to businesses looking to start exporting, compared to just 36 per cent of respondents across the UK as a whole.
The survey also found that half of SMEs across the country have never considered looking outside their bank for finance.
Although London SMEs are more aware of their options when it comes to exports and alternative finance, the research revealed that there is room for improvement when it comes to getting businesses exporting in the first place.
Half of SMEs in London, and 30 per cent across the UK, do not export any goods or services.
“Many businesses we speak to say that banks have made it harder for them to access really flexible, tailored finance,” said Growth Street chief executive Greg Carter (pictured).
“With so many businesses having never looked outside their bank for funding, it’s clear there is more for finance providers to do to boost businesses’ understanding of the finance options available to them.
“With the Brexit process ongoing, I believe exports will be crucial for businesses looking to grow in the coming years. Liam Fox, secretary of state for international trade, has said the UK is ‘unlikely’ to meet its ambitious export target, despite fantastic global growth in recent years. I am optimistic that SMEs can help the UK achieve this target.
“In light of this, we see that businesses in London and beyond need more guidance on how to start exporting. I want SMEs to feel more comfortable looking outside their bank for funding: we now have a thriving, competitive alternative finance market in the UK.”