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Peer2Peer Finance News | September 23, 2019

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Half of SME owners can’t afford to fund their growth

Half of SME owners can’t afford to fund their growth
Kathryn Gaw

MORE THAN half (52 per cent) of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are unable to fund their business ambitions, a new survey has found.

Recent research from Nucleus Commercial Finance discovered that although SME owners saw their revenue and profit increase by 10 per cent and eight per cent over the previous year respectively, the majority were still unable to achieve their business goals.

Read more: Nucleus targets start-ups with new type of loan

Almost one fifth (19 per cent) said that they wished that they could increase their brand, marketing or online presence, while another 17 per cent said that they wanted to expand across the UK. 14 per cent said that they needed extra funding to increase their staff numbers, while 13 per cent wanted to launch a new product. Other popular business goals included moving into larger premises (12 per cent) and expanding into new international markets (nine per cent).

“Although it’s great to see an increase in both profit and revenue for small businesses, it’s clear that funding challenges still remain,” said Chirag Shah (pictured), chief executive of Nucleus Commercial Finance. “If business owners cannot access the funds they need to achieve their strategic goals, we could see a significant impact on the UK’s economy if SMEs are held back.

Read more: Nucleus Commercial Finance hits £1bn lending milestone

“With SMEs accounting for 99 per cent of all UK businesses, the alternative finance industry has a significant role to play in helping businesses succeed. Particularly as high street banks become more reluctant to lend, we need to better educate small businesses on the other solutions out there.

“The alternative finance industry offers a more flexible and personalised approach to lending, meaning they can help business owners who otherwise thought they had no available option.”

According to the survey, London-based business-owners have particularly struggled, with 61 per cent saying that they were unable to access funds for growth. Most of these SME owners said that their key ambition was to expand their business beyond the capital.

Read more: SME confidence hits record low amid ‘Brexit limbo’