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Are banks doing enough to help small businesses?

There is a perception that, in these economically straitened times, banks aren’t making enough financial assistance available to smaller businesses. So what can those businesses do to improve their chances of acquiring the funds they need? New research is being conducted at Surrey Business School to find out.

While banks say they are keen to lend to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the past few years have seen a wealth of news stories that suggest the opposite. Surrey Business School has been commissioned by Kingston Smith LLP, the top 20 accountancy firm, to conduct new research into the accessibility of finance to SMEs and the practical steps those businesses can take to improve their chances of securing funds.

The project follows a report launched by Kingston Smith in October 2012 that identified the factors that produce innovation and business success among SMEs.

This new research is being led by the same team of academics – Professor David Gray of the University of Greenwich Business School and Professor Mark Saunders of Surrey Business School – and will explore the criteria and processes that banks apply when considering applications for finance by SMEs, from both sides of the process.

The report will include first-hand information gathered from face-to-face interviews with five of the UK’s major banks and challenger banks, as well as business owner-managers from a range of sectors.

Professor Saunders commented: “We are excited to be working closely with both SMEs and senior decision-makers at several of the country’s top banks and gaining their unique insights into this key issue.”

The research will be completed this year and findings will be published in the autumn.

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