Anna Soubry MP, former Minister for Small Business discusses access to finance
Alternative forms of finance
Well, only yesterday I was told that a recent report is showing that things have got a lot better for small businesses. I think the truth is that a number of small businesses don’t even bother to ask any more at the banks because for so long they felt the answer was “No.” We know that a significant number don’t bother even going to the bank.
I am worried about access to finance. It is hugely important. I think the banks can do more and step up. I know that some of them are very keen to say how much they’ve improved the liquidity, if you like, of the loans that they make available, but the other thing is the availability now, of access in a non-traditional way.
Crowd funding, peer to peer lending, angels, all these alternative sources of finance, really are gaining a huge amount of popularity, especially frankly amongst younger business people. It has huge potential for all businesses, especially the small businesses.
So again I’m looking at how we can make sure that everybody knows what’s available out there for them and I think the British Business Bank has a real role to play in that, but we need to up their game so that people know about them, they know about the services and the information that they provide, but through the British Business Bank, what we’ve been doing is abling and assisting banks often in a way that actually people don’t know about by effectively underwriting loans, but to improve and increase the amount of loans that are available through the banks.
But it’s a combination of banks; it’s also looking into that fin tech sector as well, but I actually would like a lot of businesses to think a bit outside the box and not see it all about getting a loan but also looking at equity partners as well. That’s another important source of finance so that people can grow and they can basically scale up. So lots more to be done and just getting the message out there.
Thank you for this because it’s a really good way of us getting that message out that the information is there and that there is extra access to finance in a way that hasn’t been there for a number of years.
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