Are you a small business owner concerned about loss of funding in the wake of the decision to leave the EU?
Has your confidence dropped, and meant you’re less inclined now to even try for funding?
Uncertainty seems to be the order of the day.
At least, that’s the picture painted by this analysis over on Growth Business.co.uk.
It reports, primarily, on survey findings from a study commissioned by Hiscox.
This, says Growth Business, ‘found that recent economic and political uncertainty has adversely affected business confidence, and caused concern for the future as Britain’s withdrawal from the EU’ approaches.
Maybe no surprise, it also suggests, ‘as 38 percent of the 500 businesses surveyed’ have benefited from EU funding.
‘What emerged from the survey’, says the piece, ‘was that one in five businesses was still unaware of the variety of funding options available to them’, with:
• 36 per cent of business owners citing ‘lack of choice’ as their biggest barrier
• 28 per cent citing ‘lack of eligibility’
• And 25 per cent saying ‘market competition was their key challenge’
• Three quarters of businesses ‘used bank loans for funding over the last five years’ – though there’s also been a marked decrease in ‘bank lending to non-financial businesses’, in recent times, says the Growth Business piece
• 38 per cent relied on EU funding
• And 38 per cent on equity funding
‘Almost a third of businesses surveyed said economic uncertainty had been the biggest factor impacting their growth in the last five years’, according to the Growth Business piece.
‘In fact, 18 per cent more businesses found economic uncertainty affected their growth than competition within their own industry.’
Lack of skilled workers also concerns many small business owners, with 10 per cent citing this – and this may be set to get worse. According to the Institute for Public Policy Research, the piece says, ‘employers in Britain are currently spending over £6 billion less on training per year that the EU average’.
Does this reflect your experience?
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is, naturally, concerned. Growth Business quotes FSB Chair Mike Cherry.
‘The European Investment Fund has provided almost £500 million annually to support smaller British firms’ he said.
‘It is critical that this level of investment activity is replicated after the UK leaves the EU.’
But will it be?
‘We will actively be reaching out to government to ensure that they get this support right so that all small businesses, in every part of the country, are aware of the finance options available to them and access the right investment at the right time’, says Mike Cherry.
‘A botched withdrawal from the EIF and EIB would turn a currently mixed outlook into a decidedly bleak one, according to Cherry’, says Growth Business.
‘Reports that the EIF and EIB may already be starting to withdraw support in the UK have raised the alarm’, he’s quoted, ‘while the Funding for Lending scheme ends in January.’
Going forward, the FSB sets out its aims.
‘This makes the government’s extra commitment of resources for the British Business Bank and a National Investment Fund even more important, and we look forward to feeding in to the Treasury’s Patient Capital Review.’
Worrying times for us all. Watch this space…