Access To Finance Remains 'Problem' For EU SMEs

A New Report Released By The European Central Bank Has Found Access To Finance Remains Poor For SMEs


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

A new report released by the European Commission and European Central Bank has found many SMEs still find it difficult to access funding.

While the eurozone economy is recovering after a prolonged period of contraction that left some analysts wondering whether the euro currency would still exist in the 2014 financial year, the fact that small businesses still see access to loans as an obstacle to growth shows that governance remains an issue in the area.

Research carried out by the two EU-backed institutions and reported on by the International Business Times, found that 15 per cent of the 15,000 survey respondents across 37 European economies reported access to financial backing to be a "significant problem" for their business.

All of those surveyed were chief executives, chief operating officers or financial directors of their respective companies and all interviews were done by phone.

European Commission vice president Antonio Tajani, who is in charge of industry and entrepreneurship, said: "Since the start of the crisis, evidence has consistently shown that SMEs face large and disproportionate obstacles to accessing the finance they need to survive and thrive."

In an attempt to tackle the issue, the European Commission has launched a new initiative called the Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME).

A panel leading COSME will look at how funding schemes can be extended to smaller companies with less awareness of loan options available to them. A loan guarantee to support SMEs vying for finance will also be launched.

While this will operate on a commercial basis and will not be controlled by any particular national government, it will attempt to inform smaller and younger SMEs about the equity and capital choices that are available to them throughout the EU.

However, those looking for loans will still have to demonstrate they have a solid business plan as the European Central Bank will be hesitant to expose itself to bad debts as it recovers from the eurozone crisis that hit Portugal, Greece and Spain especially hard.

Expert Opinion
Access to finance remains to be a huge obstacle for SMEs in the UK.

“SMEs are the backbone of the economy and it is vital that entrepreneurial firms are not held back from wealth and job creation.

“The Government has announced in recent weeks and months how much it wants to encourage firms to export more and rebalance the economy towards manufacturing. There are plenty of small and medium-sized businesses which share this vision and it is vital that this ambition is matched by improved access to finance.”
Steven Beahan, Partner