Speaking at the New Start Scotland Conference in Glasgow yesterday, Sir Tom said that while it is now tougher to achieve backing from the banks, it shouldn’t be a barrier to people looking to start their own business.
“There is no doubt the banks are more bureaucratic as far as their lending is concerned,” he said. “They are more demanding about information, they are a lot slower to respond, and I think that is a problem.
“The banks have come through a tough time and I am sure they want to be as supportive as possible. But there has been so much pressure put on them to change their ways, and it’s proving to be a bit difficult.
“But, you know, there is access to funding apart from the banks, be it people like Scottish Enterprise, local enterprise companies or the Angels’ Den these types of organisations. The interesting thing is that funding for most small companies comes from members of the family or friends. Funding shouldn’t be too much of a problem, unless you are looking for millions.”
Sir Tom founded Kwik-Fit in 1971, before selling it to Ford in 1999 for £1bn.
Sir Tom also spoke about the economic recovery, saying that he was confident things were picking up: “We shouldn’t bury our head in the sand. We’ve come through a period of recession and only now is there starting to be talk about recovery.
“The governor of the Bank of England yesterday came out with a statement saying that we are definitely coming out of recession, and you have got to accept it. This is a man who is in a prominent position in the country. I accept what he is saying and I have great optimism about the future.”