Introducing the initiative on Wednesday, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced, "It's a really big breakthrough," stating the campaign would ensure government services met the needs of all SMEs, from start-ups to more established mid-sized firms.
"The old offer, Business Link, was sort of a one size fits all approach," Cable went on to explain. "I think we now recognise that for most companies, simply being able to access a website is all that's necessary and it's a sensible government intervention. But for the medium sized companies, we're talking 1500 [employees] and above, you do need something more differentiated."
Cable believes it is these rapidly advancing medium-sized businesses that will enable the UK economy to return to a healthy state of growth, but for this to occur, the issue of finance must be addressed.
"Ambitious growth companies find it very difficult to get access to long-term debt finance," admitted Cable.
"We know there is a genuine problem with finance for small companies, but the real difficulty is with the British 'Mittelstand'. In Germany they have ready access to all types of sources of funding but in the UK they don't. It's very difficult because they're not big enough for the stock market and they've run out of family and friends; people who will fund a start-up."
One major challenge Cable hopes to overcome with the new government scheme, including the planned Business Bank, is the demise of relationship banking and the loss of trust bewteen SMEs and lenders.
The Business Secretary stated that traditional banks have been, "letting down the small business community," over recent years, praising the efforts of challenger banks and peer to peer lenders for boosting lending to UK SMEs.
Speaking to Aldermore's Head of Digital Marketing, Helen Walsh, Cable summarised: "Your bank is a good example of what we need to see more of, which is small, innovative, new alternative banks or alternative non-banks."
Aldermore welcomes Cable's comments on the importance of providing Britain's promising SME businesses with the capital they require to achieve growth and drive the economic recovery. The Bank has always been committed to creating strong ties with SMEs in order to better understand their needs and looks forward to working alongside government to build a more transparent, accessible financial system.
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