‘There’s an element of education needed’

Terry Lee, operations director at EE Ingleton Engineering at a round table discussion hosted by NatWest and EEF exploring the issues faced by some manufacturing SMEs in South Yorkshire.
Terry Lee, operations director at EE Ingleton Engineering at a round table discussion hosted by NatWest and EEF exploring the issues faced by some manufacturing SMEs in South Yorkshire.
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Lisa Leighton, partner at Barber Harrison and Platt, said: “I think there is an element of education that is needed as some SMEs don’t understand what funding options are available to them.

“For example I have asked some SMEs if they know about the R&D tax credit option.

“Many think they can’t apply but some have development opportunities in place that they don’t realise will help them qualify for the scheme.”

Martin Gorman, relationship director at NatWest, said: “The Regional Growth Fund has been very successful with some of our customers as an alternative to giving up equity to external investors.

“However, it’s a shame that all businesses can’t benefit from it to help them grow and move into new markets.”

Terry Lee, operations director at EE Ingleton Engineering, said: “We were supported by NatWest and Lombard on the purchase of two machines for our plant with funding from the RGF.

“The process was quite easy and straightforward at first, and as a result our business has grown, and had much success. However when we found ourselves in a position where we needed to buy additional machines, we were turned down by the RGF because we were too successful.”

Craig Allington, director at Lombard Finance, said: “The RGF has without a doubt helped a number of businesses. There are several options available to SMEs and we need to ensure businesses have the materials they need to make informed decisions.”

UK exporting performance is at the forefront of the minds of most policy makers. Research shows manufacturers are likely to export, with 55 per cent exporting compared with 31 per cent in the economy as a whole.