Today is Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, as proposed by the United Nations. Our economies depend on small businesses, now more than ever. Globally, they equate to more than 70% of the businesses and 50% of the jobs, which is nothing to be sniffed at.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that crises like these don’t affect everyone in the same way and a lot of the time, that inequality can be devastating. Women, youth, and ethnic minorities in business have suffered most in the private sector, especially in Micro-, Small-, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).
The United Nations commissioned the International Trade Centre survey on COVID-19, outlining the impact among businesses “… in 136 countries has shown that nearly 62% of women-led small businesses have been strongly affected by the crisis, compared to just over half of firms led by men, and women-owned are 27% more likely not to survive the pandemic.”
Could we use these past experiences and lessons to make MSMEs more resilient to economic and societal changes, and to make economic transitions more inclusive? This day is a way to highlight these topics and to listen to businesses who fall into this category, as they are more important and contribute more than people imagine;
“Formal and informal MSMEs make up over 90% of all firms and account, on average, for 70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.”
Without help and support, MSMEs will suffer and crumble. In this article, we’ll be looking at some different MSME business support options, how they can help, and how to access them.
Small Business Financing & Investment
The British Business Bank is a great place to start your search for MSME business support and information on financing and loans. Small businesses across the UK benefit from this government-owned business development bank. You can stay ahead of challenges, take advantage of opportunities, and move your business forward with the use of their Finance Hub. Business finance can be notoriously hard to figure out and apply for. Using the Finance Hub, you can check out your business’ finance options, to help you decide what’s next in your journey.
Not only that, but the British Business Bank also offers Start-Up Loans to start or grow your own business. These can be anything up to £25,000 and can be repaid over a term of 1–5 years and alongside this, you get to access 12 months of free mentoring!
If you’re looking for a different angle to your fund-finding, why not try a venture capital scheme to raise money for your business? Through the Government website, you can find some useful resources and information on the four different options to help small or medium-sized businesses grow and pull in investment. Essentially, they give you a tax break if you buy and hold new shares, bonds, or assets. There are some criteria for the options you choose, so it’s worthwhile having a look to find the one that suits you best.
If you have any issues or concerns when applying, the nice people at HMRC can check over your proposal in advance before you apply, but the buck stops with you in terms of meeting the right criteria.
Innovation UK supports innovation across all sectors, technologies, and regions in the UK. They expertly facilitate the development and commercialisation of new products, services and processes for UK businesses. Innovate UK aims to aid businesses across the UK to evolve and develop through innovation and ideas. EDGE and KTN (Knowledge Transfer Network) are the two main innovation networks under Innovate UK. With KTN, you can be linked with experts outside of your go-to networks and even industrial sectors. They offer academic resources, make relevant connections with government or funding opportunities, and even provide support for developing your strategy.
Innovate UK EDGE focuses more on expert-driven support for forward-thinking and focused businesses. Joining EDGE gives you access to a dedicated innovation and growth specialist near to you. In consultation with your company’s leadership, the specialist identifies the most effective methods to accelerate business growth. They will talk you through a range of services that are available through Innovate UK EDGE to support the expansion and scaling of innovative SMEs.
One last document to take a look at would be Business Support for SMEs: Maximising the Value of Intellectual Property published by the Intellectual Property Office. Investing in intellectual property (IP) is an important part of protecting your innovation early on and so these considerations will give you some information you need to move forward securely. This covers everything from;
– MSME Business Support Programmes
– Financial Opportunities
– IP Advisory Services
– Online IP Services
– Dispute Resolution
Support and advice for businesses
If you are looking for advice or support, there is a wealth of resources that can offer the insights that you need to make a success out of your ideas. Here are a few that can help to answer any questions that you may have;
Your local Growth Hub, led by the Local Enterprise Partnerships, is here to help you! There are 38 across the country, meaning that business owners and managers can turn to these Growth Hubs for local and national business support services whenever they need them. Depending on your business needs, their dedicated teams can assist directly or suggest the right support for you, from new business advice, trade and export, innovation, and more!
If your business aims to connect overseas, then the Department for International Trade have a huge area of resources to guide you and aid in making informed decisions. By becoming a member you get access 193 countries’ market data, and you will get a jumpstart on exporting with step-by-step lessons. If you’re wondering where to export, you can find the right market with their comparison tool and even create a business plan for exporting which takes you through every step of your journey. Last but not least, if you ever have any issues and get stuck, you have access to an international trade adviser for advice through your local trade office.
Be the Business has one goal and that is to improve business performance for business owners and leaders by increasing productivity. They provide a whole host of resources and tools to help you do this, from customisable action plans, to making use of an experienced business mentor to work through your business ideas. In addition, they provide guides on how to solve business challenges with best practices and also offer links to local organisations that can provide you with additional support.
These are only a few of the MSME business support options and there will likely be local organisations that provide even more amazing and accessible routes for businesses.
If you have your business up and running, but have no idea how to market your services and get your name out there, why not book a consultation with us and you’ll be Reyt Chuffed with the results! Otherwise, contact us if you have any questions about any of our services!