Regional funding for small & medium-sized enterprises - PKF Francis Clark
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Regional funding for small & medium-sized enterprises

As someone who is actively engaged both with SME businesses and my local (Dorset) Local Enterprise Partnership I was keen to host one of our upcoming webinars on “Funding for SMEs”.

The webinars – what will be covered?

Over the next two weeks we are hosting three webinars, each with a different geographical focus but each picking up on threads from two recent publications:

We are grateful to the participants in all three events for giving up their time to discuss issues that should be of interest to SMEs based in South West. PKF Francis Clark is hosting the 45-minute webinars and we will be looking to get conversations going around questions such as:

  • Nationally there are references to a “funding gap” for SMEs – is this your experience?
  • Is the problem worse and/or different in [geographic area]?
  • Is the problem extenuated by a lack of awareness of funding options?
  • Recent reports talk about a more regionally focused approach to funding for SMEs being required – agree?  And if so, can you let us know what is being done in [geographic area]?
  • What do you think are the key objectives/ actions to address the perceived funding gap?
  • What initiatives are already in place to address the perceived funding gap – nationally and/or regionally?
  • What initiatives are in place to increase awareness of funding options – nationally and/or regionally?
  • Any other barriers to SMEs obtaining the finance they desire/need?
  • Why would a high growth business be better off situated in [geographical area]?
  • What funding is there to assist businesses in moving to Net Zero?

And there will be time set aside for those registered to attend (see below) to raise your own questions.

Expect the £200m New Fund to get a mention

We expect some of the conversation to be around the recently announced “£200m to provide a new fund for businesses in the South West of England, building on the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Investment Fund (CIOSIF).”  Specifically, as we understand the South West in this context is:

  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
  • Dorset
  • Gloucestershire
  • Heart of South West
  • Swindon & Wiltshire
  • West of England

Webinars as a precursor to face to face events?

I know some of my colleagues (well, at least one) are keen to host some face-to-face events in 2022 at which business owners can hear from, and contact with, a range of business funders and business support agencies.

Factsheets

To assist Owner Managers of SMEs with an awareness of the sources of funding and business support potentially available my colleagues are compiling “finance in..” factsheets.  We hope to have these available in advance of the webinars.

The webinars – dates and registration and other details

We have over 100 registered to attend the events so far and I am hoping that number will increase significantly in the lead up to the events.

I am personally very excited to hear what is said on what is increasingly being recognised as an area of some importance for the UK economy – as one of the report states: “Gaps in finance lead to wasted economic potential…” – and is driving UK government policy as indicated by some of the announcements in the recent Autumn Budget.

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