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SME awareness of External Funding Schemes falling

The recently published BDRC Continental Quarterly SME Finance Monitor, about the availability of external finance for the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises to the end of 2013, is based on interviews with some 55,000 UK SMEs. The report includes some insight into the understandings and attitudes held by SMEs regarding the financing for the business market they find themselves in.

The report reveals that the awareness of support measures available to help SMEs has plateaued. SMEs remain more likely to be aware of Funding for Lending than other support initiatives, but over time fewer SMEs feel that it will encourage them to seek finance. Specific observations from the report include:

  • Οnly 52% of SMEs were aware of any of the support initiatives tested, down slightly from 56% in Q3 2013.
  • Funding for Lending had the highest awareness of any individual scheme at 29%. Awareness has improved over the course of 2013 (it was 23% in Q4 2012) although Q4 was the first quarter not to record a quarter on quarter increase (in Q3, awareness was 30%).
  • The proportion feeling that schemes such as Funding for Lending would encourage them to apply for finance has declined during 2013. In Q4 2013, 14% of SMEs thought such schemes would provide an encouragement, down from 20% in Q4 2012. Most SMEs, 77%, said that such schemes made no difference to them as they were not looking for finance.
  • Awareness of the appeals process for declined applications was 13% for SMEs as a whole in 2013 and stable over time.

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