Britain’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the British economy. As will be revealed in our upcoming ‘SME Heatmap: Sectors that Scale’ infographic, they are vital in pushing industries forward, and supporting regional Britain.
To ensure that British SMEs remain the core drivers of national innovation and growth, we have to provide the necessary support across all stages of the business cycle, from micro-businesses finding their feet to fully fledged SMEs attempting to upscale. While the recent 2016 Spring Budget proved to be particularly popular for start-ups and micro-businesses, it failed to address the £1 billion funding gap currently facing SMEs seeking to upscale and expand. As revealed by the British Business Bank in March 2016, Government-backed loans for small businesses are decreasing – inhibiting the long-term growth prospects of British firms.
To address this funding gap, our sister company Crowdfinders has announced Race to Scale – a £100 million funding drive dedicated solely to Britain’s scaling SMEs. IW Capital is delighted to be part of this initiative, continuing its work in bridging the gap between private investor finance and high-growth businesses. By focusing directly on established firms, proven in concept but lacking the capital to reach their full potential, this annual initiative will prove vital to scaling SMEs. Crowdfinders is calling for eligible businesses to submit proposals to secure debt or equity finance in the form of loans and investments ranging between £100,000 and £5 million.
Successful businesses will then be invited to pitch live to an audience of around 500 high-net-worth and angel investors at one of this year’s quarterly events – the first of which kicks off next Thursday (21 April) at the Royal Institution in Mayfair. IW Capital is a sponsor of this exciting event.
As well as our involvement, Race to Scale is also being supported by a host of major players in alternative finance and enterprise, including: Seedrs, SyndicateRoom, UKBAA, Crowdcube, Smith & Williamson, Invesdor – Crowdfinders’ international partner, Angels Den, EISA, Envestors, Growthdeck, Toucan, London Launch, ifour, Crowdstacker, and Money&Co.
With the support of the UKBAA and its new Angel Investing Accreditation programme, the timing could not better – these events will improve investor awareness and education, thereby directly addressing an issue that is affecting private investment in scaling businesses. As was recently uncovered by IW Capital research, over a third (34%) of UK investors with more than £100,000 in investments would invest in UK SMEs but do not have the knowledge to do so.