Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University played host this month to the Re-think! Future Access to Finance Conference, where the findings of a substantial research project into access to finance in the region was revealed.
Over 100 representatives from small and medium enterprises, banks, entrepreneurs and business angels attended the conference that was held in collaboration with North East Access to Finance Limited and sponsored by Deloitte and Ward Hadaway
The conference took place to disseminate the key research findings for the study carried out by Newcastle Business School that has explored the demand and supply side of SME access to finance in the region, drawing on the perspectives and experiences of SMEs, Banks and Business Angels. This work was unique in that it combines the views of both SMEs and the providers of finance producing a holistic view of issues arising in relation to access to finance in the North East region.
The research, led by Professor Jackie Harvey, found that, for SMEs, the routes to gaining finance-related support and actual financial investment need greater clarity, transparency and simplicity. Many SMEs felt that a one-stop-shop of information would be more beneficial than the current perception of various multiple and disparate funding and support initiatives.
The spirit of the conference was therefore not to ‘point the finger’ but to seek solutions to some of the problems identified by participants in a way that will improve access to finance for all parties.
The conference engaged participants in an interactive way via twitter, text messaging and graffiti walls to identify key actions that will help build a more cohesive, transparent and simplified environment for access finance in the North East. It is intended to use the conference outputs to move the debate forward and to identify ways in which demand and supply constraints can be overcome and the landscape for finance related support/products simplified.
Visit the website to access more information, to watch the conference highlights, download the research reports or to contribute to the blog.