Strong demand for financing from northern SMEs, new survey reveals


Gary McDonald company editor

July 16, 2021 1:00 AM

There remains “a strong demand” for financing by small businesses in Northern Ireland, according to a new Ipsos MORI survey for the British Business Bank.

And this appetite is expected to continue until the end of next year, as SMEs believe they will need additional financing – especially debt financing and seed equity – due to the Covid pandemic. -19.

The survey found that three in five (59%) of small business financial intermediaries in the North, including accountants, lawyers and small business finance advisors, believe that demand exceeds supply when it comes to small business financing, as demand is strong at all stages. from the development of start-ups to established companies.

Two-thirds of respondents from Northern Ireland who identified gaps in the supply of finance said there were gaps in the supply of early stage equity finance (64%) and were almost twice as likely as the rest of the UK to see equity gaps at a later stage. offer for small businesses (38 percent vs. 20 percent respectively).

The figures also highlight that most respondents in Northern Ireland believe that small businesses are unlikely to be well informed about options relating to equity capital and alternative finance.

Some 85% believe there is a lack of awareness of alternative financing options, such as the market and peer-to-peer lending, compared with only 24% who say the same when it comes to debt financing, such as loans banking and overdrafts. .

Mark Sterritt, director of the British Business Bank‘s regional network, said the survey showed that despite the pandemic’s major impact on local small businesses, entrepreneurship was strong in Northern Ireland as small businesses were looking for support to start, grow and stay ahead.

“It is good to see that demand for small business finance remains strong in Northern Ireland as we look into a period of recovery and growth.

The survey also revealed a perceived gap in the supply of later stage equity capital here, which is an opportunity for SMEs to look at other lenders and expand their links with networks across the UK.”

He added, “We remain committed to working alongside our partners to increase awareness of financing options related to equity and alternative finance, and to help build a stronger financial ecosystem and to help small businesses develop. Northern Ireland to start, grow and stay ahead. “

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