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Richard Branson: SMEs Need More

We all know that the government is trying to support small business in the UK, but more action is needed. Yesterday, business bigwig Sir Richard Branson called for even more to be done to support funding for SMEs in the UK.

Branson, of Virgin fame, believes that the government should try to reduce business rates and ease regulations that are making growth stagnate. Importantly, he also says that the government should be proactive in making funding more available for small businesses, including encouraging banks to lend to businesses.

Branson is not the only big businessman calling for the government to do more. Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive at communications group WPP and Luke Johnson, former chairman of Channel 4 and Pizza Express also back Branson’s appeal for the government to do more to help SMEs.

In order to help with growth, Branson said that, “We need to get behind the small and medium-sized businesses that are the engines of any healthy economy. They need investment and finance, and that comes from the big banks. The politicians talk of encouraging lending; we need action to match that rhetoric.”

There are many government schemes for funding, including the National Loan Guarantee Scheme, however these are not always available to those small businesses most in need of funding.

While Branson’s comments are definitely welcome, the harsh funding environment is still a reality for many small businesses. Looking for alternatives – such as invoice finance – can be a good avenue for small businesses to explore in the abscence of bank business loans.

Invoice finance can release the value tied up in unpaid customer invoices, letting your business get access to the funds it needs within 24 hours. 90% of the value is available from a factoring lender immediately, with the remaining 10% available when the customer has cleared their debt, minus a small borrowing fee.

Any company which gives credit term agreements of 30, 60 or 90 days can use invoice discounting or factoring. Funding is flexible, secure and could be essential for funding growth and getting those bills paid.

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