National Enterprise Network is calling on the Government to reinforce its commitment to the start up and early stage business sector
National Enterprise Network is calling on the Government to reinforce its commitment to the start up and early stage business sector as the SME Lending Report published by the Government’s British Business Bank shows that 2018 saw a decline in the amount of money made available to small businesses.
“Importantly, it’s not just the banks that are more cautious in what they are lending,” points out NEN Chairman Alex Till, “but also the demand for loans has fallen as businesses themselves are showing themselves to be more cautious ahead of Brexit.”
NEN points also to the decline in economic growth in 2018 reported by the Government on 11 February.
“It is no coincidence,” says Alex Till, “that when businesses stop investing and growing, the economy starts to suffer. With start ups and early stage businesses being the future of the high street we need to ensure that the financial support is there for them, and that the advice and mentoring handholding is there for them too. The country’s Enterprise Agencies are there, and active with advice and mentoring, but we need to continue looking towards the government to ensure there is no break in the early stage funding.”
NEN has been a long term supporter of the Start Up Loan Company loans programme, and also been instrumental in using the regional funds to support start ups. Alex Till emphasises that the continuance of these funding sources is critical to the health of the economy.
“There is too much uncertainty on the potential outcome of Brexit. We are calling on the Government to confirm that, irrespective of our relationship with Europe, the budget allocations to the Start Up Loan Company will continue, and similarly that the support programmes for the regions will not be affected, so that Enterprise Agencies can plan with some certainty for the years to come. Only with some clarity will we be able to put an early stop to the risks of a sliding economy.”