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SME owner Jan Cavelle comments on the ‘frightening’ lack of support for SMEs

POSTED: 27th February 2013
IN: Business news
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Speaking to Aldermore, entrepreneur Jan Cavelle, founder of Jan Cavelle Furniture in Suffolk, admits SMEs face major challenges in today's business climate, particularly concerning lack of available finance.

"It's very frightening," comments Cavelle, adding, "There's very, very little support; you're completely on your own."

Cavelle explains that in terms of both government support and service from the banking sector, SMEs are often overlooked. This, Cavelle feels, creates major barriers for a small business to overcome in order to achieve their true growth potential and contribute to economic recovery.

"It's going to be tough for the foreseeable future," Cavelle states. "The government has been long on promises and short on delivery. It has affected confidence in Britain, and confidence has a far bigger effect on the recession than anything."

Cavelle concedes, however, that the Government should not be expected to deliver the full solution to the funding problem for SMEs, and that radical change is also necessary within the banking sector.

"I've had a certain amount of experience as to the funding," Cavelle reflects, elaborating, "I looked for funding because we're growing and I was looking for growth funding and discussing it with both the high street banks and a factoring company just to look at alternatives."

Unfortunately, Cavelle was hugely disappointed with the response she received, particularly in comparison with previous experience of access to finance.

"It was very scary; what had been a good service delivery maybe four or five years ago, with a fairly easy result, sort of a 'yes' or 'no' because you needed to know where you stand, became a fairly protracted 'Well we'll see what we can do; we're passing this on.'

Cavelle feels this is indicative of a worrying trend within the mainstream banking sector towards more convoluted, less humanised service.

"I think the banking sector really needs to look at what they're delivering in the way of client service; not just in lending, but altogether in the way of client service," asserts Cavelle. "There's been so much centralisation, so little contact with individual managers and so much red tape."

Aldermore shares Cavelle's view on the value of a more personal banking experience for SMEs, making a firm commitment to ensuring every lending decision is made by one of Aldermore's financial specialists, and never by an automated program. This process means every case is treated individually, avoiding situations where promising small businesses are denied credit for not meeting inflexible criteria.

Through this approach, Aldermore hope to allow a greater number of SME owners like Cavelle to realise their aspirations for growth, rebuilding a strong small business sector within the UK economy.

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