HSBC has launched a new £10 billion lending fund to help small businesses in the UK realise their ambitions for growth.
The HSBC fund has been structured to ensure it is UK-wide so that SMEs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can access the funds they need. HSBC approved 91% of small business lending applications in the past year.
Ian Stuart, HSBC's UK ceo, said: "The launch of this £10bn fund reaffirms our commitment to support the growth of UK SMEs of all sizes, from start-ups to established businesses."
HSBC is focusing on businesses that have the potential to grow and export. "We want to put SMEs in a stronger position to make investments that will stimulate local economies and create more jobs," said Stuart.
A 2016 report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 21% of small businesses currently export; it said there is potential to double this figure with the right support.
HSBC has conducted its own research, polling 1,000 UK SMEs that either export already or are looking to trade overseas. Potential exporters said that key barriers to growth are:
- A lack of understanding of local markets (68%);
- A lack of international business experience (73%);
- Problems overcoming language/cultural barriers (60%).
The research also uncovered a perception among small business owners that they need to have been trading for many years before they can expand overseas. In fact, HSBC reports that 70% of its exporting small business customers started to trade abroad when they were less than ten years old. And 35% of these began exporting before they had been trading a year.
Amanda Murphy, head of commercial banking at HSBC UK, said: "SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, and for many there is an opportunity and appetite to grow their business through exporting. HSBC can provide access to new trading networks for businesses of all sizes, help them to understand how they can consider exporting with confidence, and has the expertise to help businesses navigate change by being responsive, flexible and nimble."