Leadership & Productivity

UK SMEs struggling to access suitable funding for scaling up

2 min read

15 December 2017

Former special projects journalist

Growing businesses in the UK are still struggling to access suitable funding, despite many requiring further financial support.

UK SME owners are struggling to find funding for their scale-up plans, with just 41 per cent of able to access capital through their preferred funding route.

This is according to new research from Close Brothers Group, which found that, of those business owners who received funding whether through banks, personal loans or specialist lenders, 34 per cent felt that it wasn’t enough for their investment plans. In addition, 24 per cent felt that the type of funding they used was too costly.

With access to funding widely regarded as crucial for scale-ups, 26 per cent of those who had secured finance claimed they were unsure how to use it. Potentially, smaller businesses require additional support when it comes to finance products. In fact, 20 per cent of UK SMEs said the funding they had received was not suited to their business.

Adrian Sainsbury, Banking Division managing director, Close Brothers commented: “Low productivity hinders economic growth and improving productivity is vital, particularly as the UK prepares to leave the EU. Given their importance to the economy, SMEs will be central to potential productivity gains.

“SMEs need access to the right finance and support to invest in training staff or adopting new technologies so increasing awareness of financial options is crucial. Bespoke funding solutions which align to specific needs and growth plans are always preferable to a one-size-fits-all approach.”

The problem is not limited to the UK either. Around 16 per cent of SMEs across the UK, Germany and France were unable to access capital at all. German SMEs were better able to secure finance through their chosen route (47 per cent) compared to French SMEs (33 per cent).

This article is part of a wider campaign called the Scale-up Hub, a section of Real Business that provides essential advice and inspiration on taking your business to the next level. It’s produced in association with webexpenses and webonboarding, a fast-growing global organisation that provides cloud-based software services that automate expenses management and streamline the employee onboarding process.