SMEs unaware of financial help available from the government

POSTED: 26th November 2012
IN: Newsroom

Research undertaken by the British challenger bank, Aldermore, confirms that nearly two in five (38%) of small and medium sized businesses are unaware of government grants and schemes designed to help them.

The research, which was conducted amongst 300 SME firms throughout the country, also confirms that just over a third (35%) of SMEs are aware of government backed schemes but have not applied for any, with only 8% of businesses saying they are planning to apply for a grant or finance scheme in the next 12 months.

George Ashworth, Managing Director of Aldermore Asset Finance, said: "There is clearly a big job to be done in helping 'time poor' business owners find out more about government backed schemes designed to help them grow their businesses.

"38% of respondents told us they were unaware of how to find out about grants and schemes and a further 55% said they were cynical about them, believing them to be government PR exercises or schemes designed to favour big businesses."

Research undertaken by Experian (Sept 2012) also confirms that SMEs have a poor level of awareness of government grants and other sources of alternative funding, with just 6% saying they would ask a broker for information.

Ashworth continues: "Our research confirms that two-thirds of business-owners turn to the internet as their primary source of information. There is plenty of scope for simplifying and clarifying information about government backed schemes and making this information available online to business owners."

Established in 2009, Aldermore has lent more than £1 billion to 12,000 SME customers throughout the UK and has increased its client base by 52% in the past year whilst many other banks have been scaling back their SME loan books. Aldermore can help SMEs requiring funding of up to £10 million with a range of competitive finance facilities which are supported by a reliable, high quality service.


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Simon's role at Aldermore necessitates a close relationship with the SME community across the United Kingdom. Over 1,7000 new business savers have joined the bank over the past six months and it's Simon's responsibility to listen to the feedback and viewpoints from customers;

"For me, and for all of us at the bank, our belief is that the only way you can truly champion your customers is to really understand their needs and their desires and what they're looking for from a business.

"The aim of this research was really just to make sure we had a granular understanding of what they were looking for so that when we built it, and we built something here from scratch, so that when we built products, it would be exactly what they were looking for. "

Since its launch in 2009, Aldermore has placed its customers at the heart of its business model. Making sure the results from this survey are fed back into product development is, states Simon, crucial to continuing the bank's commitment to SMEs.

 "What we're looking to do is really ensure that our expertise is leveraged to the full in delivering straightforward and dynamic products," he states. "Our aim at Aldermore is that we champion the customers that do business with us.

"Our research-led approach is something we're planning on leveraging into 2013 and indeed beyond," he concludes. 

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