Speaking about the level of support available for SMEs in the United Kingdom, Howard comments:
"There's plenty of pro-business messages out there but I think there's not enough support from the government in the right places or from financial institutions; giving enough to these people to help the spirit of innovation on behalf of this country."
Now employing 23 employees, Howard is proud to announce Urban Bubble is earning healthy profits, doubling their turnover during the current financial year. However, he is also keen to stress that the business has faced a number of obstacles to get to its current position.
"We really struggled with growth because we simply don't have the comfort or the flexibility with our banking products that we would like," states Howard. "I've taken something like £20,000 in loans from my family. I've never been able to get a penny off the bank in overdraft or in borrowing facility."
According to Howard, this lack of accessible finance is not an isolated case and he feels many other small businesses are also struggling due to insufficient financial support. "55 per cent of people don't get the money that they ask for," cites Howard. "I think there are a lot of businesses out there failing because of this negativity; because of this lack of liquidity from banks."
One major area of concern for Howard was the availability of asset finance. He recounts one experience where he was quoted an excessive amount for a hire agreement on a goods van, having been told that his small business posed a credit risk.
"I've tied up thousands of pounds buying a van because I can't get decent terms at the moment to buy equipment and materials because I'm a small business," admits Howard.
"We're very strong, we've got a decent balance sheet, but good businesses are being rejected."
It is as a direct result of speaking to SME owners such as Howard that Aldermore has made a commitment to shake up the world of banking; improving the financial options available to SMEs. Asset and invoice financing options represent a small selection of the financial products we offer in order to enable small businesses such as Urban Bubble improve their cash flow and unlock their potential for growth.
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