£95m injection into small businesses

Posted on 11 Nov 2011

Prime Minister David Cameron announced yesterday that £95m was to be given to small and medium-sized enterprises by the Regional Growth Fund. The injection comes from the £950 million Regional Growth Fund that was announced on 31st October.

Speaking at the ‘Exporting for Growth’ conference in central London yesterday, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “British SMEs are already doing incredible things, but we urgently need more of them to follow that boldness. We need this to be a country where more people think ‘I can start my own business and I can sell to the world.”

“Our determination is to come through these difficult times stronger, to trade our way to growth and jobs. We need to show real optimism about the future, and we need to show real aggression about pursuing Britain’s interests in the world. The markets are there to be tapped; the deals are there to be done, the opportunities are there to be capitalised on. Now together we must seize them.”

The announcement from the Prime Minister is part of a growth package designed to help Britain’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) create jobs, secure finance, export to new markets, and cut red tape.

The funding is expected to create at least 4,000 jobs and unlock around £500m of new investment for SMEs.

The grants will be awarded to SMEs based upon the need to support the purchase of new capital assets, as well as to create and safeguard jobs.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said: “These schemes will directly help SMEs that want to invest and create new jobs. They will deliver a shot in the arm to local communities and help small businesses drive local growth.”

“One hundred per cent of the RGF funding will be provided as grants to small businesses with the banks employing their regional networks to administer the schemes for free.”

RBS, Natwest and HSBC have been charged with allocating the funds, with representatives from all involved very enthusiastic about the deal.

Commenting on the speech by the Prime Minister on lending to SMEs, Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive

of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:

“It’s good to hear the Prime Minister acknowledging that companies need more support in accessing finance to grow their businesses. Today’s measures are a welcome step in the right direction. But the government will need to go significantly further to ensure that firms, particularly small and medium-sized ones, have access to credit at the right cost and on the right terms.”

Speaking to The Manufacturer Joe Miller from Drallim, precision components manufacturer, said that although the announcement was good news for SMEs, a lot more needs to be done to help smaller companies. Miller has just won the Young Manufacturer of the Year 2011 award.

Tom Moore