ALMOST three quarters of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the North West lack of awareness of alternative finance providers, according to new research.
Furthermore, 75 per cent of those businesses have never looked beyond their bank for funding, according to the survey conducted by peer-to-peer business lender Growth Street.
The region is also lagging behind when it comes to exporting. 73 per cent of North West SMEs do not send goods or services abroad, compared to the national average of 66 per cent.
“The figures should be a wake-up call for government and financial advisers,” said Growth Street chief executive Greg Carter.
“SMEs are struggling to access finance through traditional avenues, as a result of bank closures and the continued restraints on lending to small businesses, which contribute to the stark fact that around half of small businesses fail by year five.
“With the Brexit process ongoing, I believe exports will be crucial for businesses looking to grow and succeed in the coming years.”
Over half of North West SMEs also said that they don’t think or don’t know if there is enough guidance and information for businesses looking to export.
However, flexible working capital can be crucial for SMEs aiming to tap into new markets.
“We hope to inspire businesses in the North West to be more confident and knowledgeable about what finance options are available to them,” said Carter.
“In turn, we hope this will ensure more successful SMEs which can grow and begin to tap into new markets.”