NBS unveils research into SME finance

Member Article

Research rethinks the future of access to finance

Entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need clearer signposting and more support to help them understand how to access credit, according to new research from Northumbria University’s Newcastle Business School.

Newcastle Business School is inviting North East SMEs, banks and business angels to attend a conference next month where they will reveal the findings of a substantial research project into access to finance in the region.

The Re-think! Future Access to Finance Conference will be held in collaboration with North East Access to Finance Limited, the organisation set up to coordinate the management and redeployment of historical investment funds to support the region’s businesses.

Newcastle Business School was commissioned by North East Access to Finance Limited to undertake a major piece of independent academic research to explore both the demand and supply sides of SME access to finance in the North East and to explore how that might cast light on this issue more broadly across the UK.

The research, led by Professor Jackie Harvey, found that, for SMEs, the routes to gaining finance-related support and actual financial investment need greater clarity, transparency and simplicity. Many SMEs felt that a one-stop-shop of information would be more beneficial than the current perception of various multiple and disparate funding and support initiatives.

SMEs involved in the research also expressed a desire for mentoring and support to be delivered by fellow SME-owners and managers who have already been successful in a similar environment. A need for cost-effective finance training, telling them precisely what banks and Business Angels are looking for, was also identified.

At the conference researchers will share their findings and discuss how to take action on the key issues that have emerged relating to the demand and supply constraints around SME access to finance, finance-related support and products, and how the landscape can be improved in a way that can inform the national access to finance debate.

Professor Harvey, Professor of Financial Management at Newcastle Business School, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this important event in our region. This is a wonderful and rare opportunity for businesses and funders to discuss openly the findings of the research and work together to look at how the financial landscape can be improved for all participants.

“Our research has enabled us to gain greater insight and understanding into the challenges faced, not only by the SME sector, but also by the key suppliers of finance to that community – specifically the banking sector and business angels.”

Speakers at the event will include Lucy Armstrong, Chair of Capital for Enterprise Limited and Chief Executive of The Alchemists; and Herb Kim, CEO of Codeworks, Founder of The Thinking Digital Conference and one of the MediaGuardian Top 100 2010. The event is sponsored by Ward Hadaway and Deloitte.

Graham Thrower, non-executive Director at North East Access to Finance Limited, added: “We aim to be at the forefront in determining what is required by businesses across our region. We are working with key partners, such as Newcastle Business School, to gather the evidence we need so that we can dimension and deploy future funds to deliver exactly what is needed to support the region’s enterprises.

“This conference is one of a number of key steps to explore new and very real financial opportunities, and we are positioning ourselves to offer real and practical support.”

Re-Think! Future Access to Finance takes place on the ground floor of Newcastle Business School, City Campus East, on Tuesday 3 July, at 1.30pm. Drinks and canapés will be served following the session and there will be opportunity to network.

Businesses wishing to attend this free event should visit: www.rethinkfutureaccesstofinance.eventbrite.co.uk

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Shirley Morgan .

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