SMEs using more finance than before COVID
An estimated one in five small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are using more finance than they were prior to the pandemic, including one in 10 who borrowing where they were not before, according to BVA BDRC’s Q2 SME Finance Monitor.
The proportion of those using finance who are borrowing more than £25,000 has also increased, to 28%, up from 18% earlier in 2020.
The data also found that a quarter of all SMEs are worried they do not have enough funding to get through the coming months, and the equivalent of one in 10 is worried about repaying all the finance they currently have, including COVID-related funding.
BVA BDRC said that sentiment is improving, but it is not yet clear what impact the additional finance taken will have.
Chirag Shah, chief executive at Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “The last 18 months have presented serious challenges for SMEs across the country, with many businesses simply struggling for survival, and so it’s very encouraging to see SME confidence on the rise, with over half now expecting to grow.
“With lockdown restrictions now lifted, SMEs are in a better place to plan for the future and are looking to external finance as a way to do this.
“However, challenges still remain. As the economy opens up and businesses fully reopen, they will be facing difficult decisions, both practical and financial and will need somewhere to turn to.
“This is where government and industry have a vital role to play, in communicating the support available to SMEs and how it can help businesses thrive beyond the pandemic.
“The alternative finance industry will be paramount to SME recovery, in providing businesses with the finance they need at speed.”