Almost half (46%) of UK small businesses are planning to grow in the next year but many are still unaware of the alternative finance options available to them.
These are the findings of new research by the British Business Bank. Its report, Small Business Finance Markets 2014, shows that the nature of demand for finance among small businesses is changing, with an increasing emphasis on growth rather than survival.
It reports that 54% of companies raising finance did so to purchase fixed assets or to expand, up from 39% two years ago, while the proportion of companies seeking finance to boost cashflow fell from 45% in 2012 to 33%.
Although 68% of businesses surveyed said they were confident in their ability to obtain external finance, the report found that significant barriers remain, including a lack of awareness. Results of the survey include:
- 85% of respondents were aware of lease or hire purchase;
- Only 15% knew about mezzanine finance;
- 36% were aware of angel investment;
- Although 55% were aware of venture capital, only 20% knew a specific supplier;
- Awareness of peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding increased to 35% and 32% respectively, up from 24% and 13% in 2012.
Keith Morgan, ceo of British Business Bank, said: “There is increasing confidence among UK small businesses and an appetite for growth. The challenge now is to connect the emerging demand for finance with the new forms of funding that are becoming available. The British Business Bank is working to encourage innovation, promote diversity and share information, to develop a more broadly based and accessible lending market for smaller businesses.”
The British Business Bank has published a Business Finance Guide with the ICAEW and with input from a further 17 business and finance organisations, outlining sources of finance available to businesses.