In quiet rooms behind closed doors, people are making it their mission to challenge the UK’s push for Inclusive Growth. The debate is that while the UK along with much of the world is experiencing an economic growth phase, this growth within the UK is not benefitting everybody, and this needs to change.
The OECD define the inclusive growth movement as ‘Economic growth that creates opportunity for all segments of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, fairly across society.’
The importance of ensuring these matters are addressed saw us attending the inaugural event by the Institute of Economic Development on the subject. The meeting of minds there agreed all was not well and that part of the solution lay in removing barriers for people to achieve prosperity.
Within the UK there are many financing options available to assist business growth. Many streams of lending, however, are underpinned by securing loans to assets. Without those assets, the door is often closed.
It does not matter if those business assets are equipment, debtors or a personal guarantee; no security means no finance, and this is a problem in Inclusive Growth. It creates a disparity of access to finance and is a barrier holding back excellent businesses from realising their growth potential.
The financial emphasis on assets also means investing in knowledge is underappreciated. NEL’s funding activity means we work with small business owners everyday so we know the importance of attracting and keeping the best people for your team.
There are incentives to support apprenticeships and employing new graduates but investing in senior level people or wider scale team development can be expensive.
There is no lack of aspiration to employ a highly skilled and even well-paid team but accessing the finance to enable this can be difficult.
Too long has investment been associated only with buying buildings and new equipment. To create more Inclusive Growth we need to redefine investment to include knowledge and skills. Growing your businesses, and in turn the economy means investing in the future not just investing in things. These plans for growing a business through investing in knowledge and skills are plans that NEL can finance through the two funds we manage.
Our mission is to impact the local economies where we work by backing local small businesses that invest in their own and their people’s future.
NEL is the only fund management firm to be awarded two of the five funds that make up the new £120m North East Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund:
The £18m North East Growth Capital Fund has been designed to create 790 new jobs in more than 70 regional firms over the life of the programme and offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
Aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically advances loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in the same areas, and is designed to assist with the creation of 1200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the same period.
If you would like more information on the types of finance we can offer businesses, our investment team can be contacted on 0345 369 7007 or visit www.nel.co.uk