Clearview North May 2013 - Issue 138 - Page 46

INDUSTRYNEWS CABLE ANNOUNCES £70m LENDING BOOST FOR SMES Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are set to receive a £70 million lending boost following government action to increase and diversify the availability of finance. Three new lenders – Market Invoice, URICA and Beechbrook Capital – will share more than £30 million of government funding to offer SMEs alternatives to traditional bank lending. Each lender has committed to attracting additional funding from private sector investors, with the total expected to boost the pool of credit available to SMEs from these three lenders by more than £70 million. Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “A lack of access to finance is still choking off too many small businesses, preventing them from growing, taking on new staff or investing in new equipment. “We are taking a range of actions to support SMEs and shake up business finance markets, including through the new business bank. Today’s £30 million announcement is an important boost for non-traditional lenders with creative and innovative solutions. It will increase competition and create a more diverse and balanced market for business lending. The Business Secretary made the announcement in a speech at the Federation of Small Businesses. He also spoke about the Chancellor’s Budget announcement, which set out the progress of setting up a business bank and how the initiative will start making a difference straight away. The three lenders receiving a share of the £30 million are: • Market Invoice has been awarded £5 million. It is an online platform through which SMEs can raise funds by selling individual invoices to a pool of investors. • URICA is being allocated £10 million. It will establish a new supply chain finance platform to provide a consistent channel of cash from institutional investors to SME suppliers by enabling early payment of their bills to mid-sized growth companies. • Beechbrook Capital is receiving £17 million. It is a mezzanine fund manager and will establish a new fund to lend to SMEs focused on growth capital. The funding comes from the small business tranche of the Business Finance Partnership (BFP). Currently, 85 per cent of all business loans are handled by the big four banks. Women on Boards Lord Davies and the Women on Boards review team have called on businesses to make sure that women are taking their rightful seat in the boardroom… “Equality and fairness in the workplace should be running from the shopfloor to the boardroom,” says Lord Davies. Two years ago I was asked to address the issue of the latter,” he explains. “My report in 2011 looked to address the reasons why there were low numbers of females reaching the boardroom and what we could do to tackle this. “We identified a number of barriers and my report recommended a voluntary business-led approach to change this culture. The second annual update of this report and the evidence shows that real improvements are being seen. ‘Businesses need to use the skills of the best individuals they can’ “Only six all-male boards remain in the FTSE 100, down from 21 in 2010. Nearly four out of ten appointments to the FTSE 350 are female at the moment. Furthermore, according to Cranfield University, the FTSE 100 is on track to achieve 25% women on boards by 2015 and 34.4% by 2020. This will only happen if the momentum is maintained, and women are appointed to one third of all new appointments. “These are very positive steps. But we should not be complacent of the progress being made. This can only be achieved by maintaining the current momentum and pace of change. “And this change should come from business themselves rather than regulation or quotas from Europe. As our annual report shows, a selfregulatory model is the best approach for the UK. We are calling on businesses to build on the progress to date and make sure that women are taking their rightful seat in the boardroom. To compete in the fastmoving global economy, businesses need to use the skills of the best individuals they can. And ultimately, improving the performance of UK companies will mean stronger economic growth for the country.” ‘This change should come from business themselves rather than regulation” “The whole Women on Boards agenda has never been just an equality issue – it makes level-headed business sense. Well-balanced boardrooms bring fresh ideas, talent and experience, which in turn lead to better decision making. All of which leads to greater productivity of UK plc. “Our second annual report shows that women now account for 17.3% of FTSE 100 and 13.2% of FTSE 250 board directors up from 12.5% and 7.8% respectively in February 2011 - an increase of nearly 40%. ‘Stronger economic growth for the country’’ 46 THE MAY 2013 ISSUE SPONSORED BY DURAFLEX To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com