Firms throughout the Midlands increasingly need support to ‘navigate the changing field’ of grants and funding, say business leaders.
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce chief executive Paul Faulkner says the complex array of funding packages available – including peer to peer lending and crowdfunding – has increased the need for expert guidance.
Mr Faulkner urged firms to contact their local growth hub for advice on access to finance following a British Chambers of Commerce survey which revealed widespread lack of awareness of a range of financial packages.
The survey showed that 41 per cent of respondents were unfamiliar with private equity finance, while 57 per cent and 50 per cent respectively were not aware of peer to peer lending and crowdfunding.
Meanwhile, 76 per cent were not familiar with Mezzanine and 58 per cent were unaware of Angel. By contrast, the survey found that the vast majority of respondents were familiar with better known forms of funding such as credit cards, bank overdrafts, bank loans or leasing/hire purchase.
When asked about Government schemes, 68 per cent were unfamiliar with or unaware of UK Export Finance while 72 per cent were not aware of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.
Mr Faulkner said, “Knowing which type of finance is best for your business has become increasingly complicated in recent years as new platforms such as peer to peer and crowdfunding have emerged. Navigating the changing field of public sector grants and funding can also be a challenge.
“The results of this survey show that many businesses still need additional support getting up to speed on the types of finance out there.
“I would urge the businesses to consider contacting their local growth hub for signposting support on access to finance.”
Andy Lyndon, director of LDC in the Midlands, said, “Access to finance is an issue for many businesses, and with so many options available it’s important for management teams to fully explore what’s on offer to ensure they have the right strategic fit for their business.
“Despite common misconceptions, private equity isn’t just for big businesses. It can be a powerful tool for management teams of all sizes, creating a partnership that works hand-in-hand to create stronger, larger and better businesses.
“We’ve seen how effective it can be with businesses here in the Midlands, delivering lasting value for our portfolio, including manufacturer Eley Group and the UK’s leading live exhibition and conference venue, the NEC Group.”
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is one of the UK’s oldest and largest Chambers. It has nearly 3,000 member companies that employ over 200,000 plus affiliate organisations representing 15,000 people. It offers extensive services to industry and commerce, having served the interests of business for three centuries, promoting trade locally, nationally and internationally.