The Government’s decision to review SMEs lending is laudable.
Too many businesses struggle to access the funding that, while seemingly modest, has the potential to be life changing. This has to stop. The high street is not always the best place for a business to get the support it needs – particularly a start up.
Alternative funding is often the answer for firms looking to scale or for those new to entrepreneurship, while many others will need to be taught how to use the money so that it’s not wasted.
The Government has recognized this need through initiatives such as Start Up Loans, but what’s important about this Budget is its recognition that alternative funding cannot operate in a silo – and that the banking sector needs to get involved.
The Chancellor's support for apprenticeships in today's budget was a very welcome recognition of the vital importance of getting more of the UK's young people into work.
The economy is being powered by small and growing businesses which rely on the future talent of the nation's schools, colleges and universities.
But apprenticeships alone cannot be the answer to the youth unemployment crisis and our impending skills drought.
The likes of the Gazelle Colleges Group are already leading the way in creating better and more effective partnerships between entrepreneurs and educators, and their example needs to be followed.
This was a budget for great British small businesses.
The focus on exporters and manufacturers, showed the Chancellor is paying attention to what a huge proportion of what our entrepreneurs need to keep growing their businesses.
The acknowledgment of the value for alternative funding is another big boost for new businesses across the country. Start Up Loans will now be able to give more people the funding and mentoring they need to create healthy and innovative businesses.
I'm disappointed that the chancellor hasn't increased the entrepreneur's relief limit.
This would have greatly encouraged companies that are doing well, like Wheyhey, to push on without having to worrying about the tax implications.
I am however pleased with steps made to make exporting more favourable. For Wheyhey this is going to be a big focus for the next 12-18 months so I certainly welcome export finance available through UKEF doubling.
It was good to sense an intent to help small businesses grow from today's budget.
Although business growth must come from the business itself -as the result of a strong business model- government support is always encouraging to see. I was particularly encouraged that long-haul flights will carry a lower rate of air duty.
We know that cashflow to support export activity is the key concern for businesses considering geographical expansion - and often the reason why they put it off.
Banks are often unwilling to fund export activity or will only do so at a higher price, which is why alongside UKTI, alternative finance providers have a major role to play in providing the fuel for our nation’s export growth.
This is not a budget for Britain’s small, independent merchants.
We heard nothing new on rate relief, corporation tax, or employment allowances – and despite the Chancellor’s tub-thumping rhetoric on infrastructure improvements, £200m is a drop in the ocean when it comes to maintaining the nation’s roads.
The Chancellor’s focus on building economic resilience, and specific move to double export finance and cut interest rates by a third for exporters, comes at precisely the right time for our small business customers.
With growth back on the agenda, we are seeing an increasing appetite among small firms to tap into the opportunities presented by overseas trade. Companies that trade internationally are more profitable, on average, than those that solely focus on the domestic market. Also, it is vital that exporters move away from reliance on the fragile Eurozone and explore non-EU markets. Today’s announcements will encourage them to do this.