Access to appropriate finance is a barrier to growth for businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills’ 2014 Small Business survey found that almost half of the SMEs surveyed have had difficulties in accessing finance. The Nesta ‘Vital 6 per cent’ report further highlighted that it is critical to provide fast-growth SMEs with access to finance if they are to contribute to the UK economic recovery.

The Access to Finance project will enable SMEs in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly to increase their knowledge of, and be prepare to access the most appropriate finance. Specifically, it will deliver two one-day financial readiness workshops for five hundred and fifty SMEs to educate them on how to make appropriate finance choices.  It will further provide bespoke and intensive one on one support to one hundred and fifty SMEs who demonstrate a current and realistic need to raise finance. Support to SMEs will continue post-investment to ensure that the value of the finance secured is fully maximised.

The project will develop the finance and investor community in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by establishing a successful and sustainable environment for SMEs to access finance beyond the lifetime of the project. The project will establish a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme Business Growth Fund as pre-cursor to setting up a Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Angel Network.

Access to Finance will align other business support projects across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to ensure effective referrals and signposting of SMEs who also need non-finance related support. Dedicated staff will provide visibility and promote the uptake of support to SMEs and hard to reach applicants, such as social enterprises.