Entrepreneurship Inquiry will tackle access to finance to small firms

Published on Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:10
Posted by Scott Buckler

The All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group Entrepreneurship Inquiry will tackle why women and mature people are less likely to apply for bank finance, as well as why small firms still struggle to access finance in its first evidence session

Women and mature entrepreneurs are more likely to view access to finance as a problem and so are less willing to take on that debt, and a third of small businesses are still finding it difficult to access money from the banks. The Inquiry will tackle how this can be improved and ensure everyone feels confident to apply for finance from the banks.

The Inquiry, held today (Wednesday, 8 February), will hear from everywoman, Heropreneurs, the Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) and New Deal of the Mind on issues including finance, unemployment – specifically getting young people and women back into work, skills and mentoring.

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

"We have heard for so long that small businesses cannot access finance from the banks, but for some entrepreneurs even approaching the bank is not an option. While alternative forms of finance need to be promoted, this needs to change and confidence needs to be instilled in all sectors of society so that they know bank finance is a real option. The Entrepreneurship Inquiry gives us a chance to discuss the barriers that the UK's small firms face and come up with good, practical solutions to help ease the burden. We look forward to seeing the results of this later."

Brian Binley MP, Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Small Business Group, said:

"I want the Government to recognise the pressures which are making life difficult for those starting-up and developing small businesses.

I want new small businesses to be relieved from the disproportionate burden which many regulations place upon them and whose impact is especially harsh during the early period of their development.The Government must be prepared to act to enable growth to occur – which requires small and medium sized enterprises to feel confident and consumers to start spending. That's why I am particularly keen on cutting taxes, which will put more money into people's pockets."

Maxine Benson MBE, Co-founder of everywoman, said:

"It is an economic imperative that we see an increase in the number of women-owned businesses in the UK.  Our research has shown that for many women a lack of confidence, access to finance and role models can prevent them from realising their full potential as entrepreneurs. We believe that cost effective skills training, confidence building and access to networks such as everywoman.com, would encourage and enable more women to start and grow businesses."

Karen Freyer, Managing Director, New Deal of the Mind, said:

"New Deal of the Mind has urged government to establish an Enterprise Allowance Scheme for the 21st century that would help young people make their own jobs. The launching of the New Enterprise Allowance is therefore a welcome start. Getting young people into productive self-employment rather than chasing work in a shrinking job market benefits both the unwilling claimant and the taxpayer.

However, the requirement for applicants to have been unemployed for six months may be counter-productive. Forcing young people to languish on the dole does not foster enterprise. Additionally, customers should have access to the scheme for a year. Three months is a very short time to get a business off the ground."

Nick Bunting, CEO for PRIME, said:

"PRIME is delighted that this inquiry is taking place.  Mature entrepreneurs are often overlooked and supporting them into enterprise can contribute to helping to resolve unemployment, provide enhanced income, opportunities for engagement as well as the prevention of social exclusion."

Richard Morris, Chief Executive of Heropreneurs said:

"We need to think of radical new ways to increase the visibility of young businesses. An alternative to offering cheap office space in Government buildings would be for companies and organisations of all sizes to adopt start-ups local to their area. Most large companies foster very little innovation and in some instances, actively discourage it as it tends to upset the business flow that made the company successful. So, why not adopt companies that can add value to your core business?

Access to finance is critical for SMEs. People have been lending and borrowing among communities for years. It is much easier to extend an existing concept than come up with a new one from scratch so we should encourage more community led banks and mutuals that serve their communities.

We should also encourage local, regional and national companies to concentrate their CSR financial donations on businesses local to them, so smaller companies benefit and are able to grow and begin the cycle of giving."


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