Business and finance advisors in the North West believe the region’s small businesses will require additional debt finance as a result of the pandemic, according to the British Business Bank.
In a survey of business advisors conducted by Ipsos MORI for the British Business Bank, demand for finance in the region is seen as strong across all smaller businesses in development stages.
The advisory community, including accountants, lawyers and business advisors, also indicated that demand for finance could outweigh supply, a view held by 52% in the region. The greatest demand for finance for small businesses was believed to be coming from both those riding out the uncertainty of the pandemic, as well as those scaling up.
In additional to debt finance, survey respondents also predicted an increase in supply for early-stage equity finance to support growing businesses in the region over the next 12-18 months. However, two-thirds of respondents also warned of a perceived lack of awareness from businesses of the finance options available.
Access to supply of finance and aversion to taking on debt were also cited as key barriers to small businesses’ demand besides the pandemic.
Dr Sophie Dale-Black, UK Network Director, North of England at British Business Bank, said:
“Moving out of the pandemic, it is pleasing to see that the demand for finance from smaller businesses is expected to remain strong in the North West as we look towards a period of recovery and growth.
“We know that debt finance is in high demand, and in turn supporting smaller businesses manage existing and new debt is an important priority. To help, we’ve created our ‘Dealing with debt’ online hub – an impartial information resource for business owners. For businesses who took out a Bounce Back Loan, the Pay As You Grow (PAYG) scheme is also in place ready to support with repayment options. “
The British Business Bank’s findings are based on an online survey of 511 smaller business finance intermediaries (of whom 62 operated in the North West) and 36 in-depth telephone interviews (of which three related to the North West). Fieldwork took place between 23rd February and 21st March 2021.