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NAO Calls For Improvement In SME Funding Initiatives

Report Outlines Challenges Facing New Business Bank


Improvements need to be made to existing funding initiatives to ensure small and medium-sized enterprises are able to access the vital financial support they require to grow, a new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has suggested.

According to the body, a more unified programme needs to be developed from the range of funding initiatives currently in place to support such businesses.

The NAO’s report looked at access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses and was issued following the launch of the Business Bank, which is set to operate independently in 2014 and is aimed at providing better support to companies.

It also found that raising the profile of the support available to firms would be a key challenge for the new initiative.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “Access to finance is a significant and enduring problem for many small and medium-sized businesses.

“Given the importance to the Government of promoting growth, greater benefits and public value could be achieved through treating the interventions as a programme, with a clearer focus on assessing what results can realistically be delivered.”

Expert Opinion
We have repeatedly highlighted how the current economic climate is an ideal time for ambitious small businesses to consider the opportunities available to them for growth and potential expansion.

"However, a key part of taking such steps forward is having access to the right types of financial support. This report has highlighted a number of concerns which we hope the Government will be able to act upon to ensure everything is being done to ensure businesses with much potential are able to thrive.

"Better information and awareness of the schemes is vital and it is hugely important that steps forward are taken on this issue. We would also urge growing businesses to speak to legal advisers along every step of the way to ensure they are ready for any of the ‘growing pains’ which can emerge when looking to develop a business."
Fergal Dowling, Partner