In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, businesses are continuing to face challenges such as inflationary pressures, supply chain disruption and escalating input costs. These challenges may involve considerable uncertainty for your firm, your customers, and your business model, so it’s important to prepare for any arising difficulties.

Access to finance is only one of the issues you may have to work through, but it is important to consider any funding requirements early on.

Banks and finance providers stand ready to support viable businesses and there is a wide range of advice, guidance, and finance options available to you.

For data on access to finance amongst SMEs, please see the SME Finance Monitor.

The finance industry is here to help you prepare, so, Let’s Talk Business.

  • Take time to think about how your customers and suppliers could be affected by any arising economic challenges, so you are prepared for the potential impact.
  • Ask your bank or finance provider early on if you think you might need additional finance, or changes in your current facilities. The earlier you engage with providers the better – start by checking your provider’s website for details of the support available.
  • Look into alternative finance options. Most applications are successful, but if your first choice doesn’t work out there are many different providers out there. 
  • Know where to go for more information to help your business. Whether you’re looking to export for the first time or wondering how to manage changes to your supply chain, the information on this site aims to provide what you need.

This guide is a starting point for businesses looking for assistance. UK government advice for business owners can be found here.

The SME Finance Charter sets out a series of commitments made by banks and lenders to provide small and medium sized businesses with the support and access the finance they need to grow and withstand economic challenges.  The aim of the Charter is to let you know how UK lenders in general plan to support their business customers, what this means for your business, whether your lender has signed up to the Charter; and how other lenders are responding, so that you can compare.

The Charter sets of out five pledges for banks and finance providers to:

  • Be open for business and ready to lend
  • Help SMEs build back better after Covid-19
  • Support their application and signpost other options if needed
  • Treat them fairly at all times
  • Work with the government-owned British Business Bank (BBB) to support SMEs.

Signatories provide more detailed information about the support they offer on their webpages. The Charter and its signatories can be found here.

Resources for women-led businesses

The Investing in Women Code  is a commitment to support female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business.

Resources for ethnic minority led businesses

A thriving economy needs to build on the talents of all entrepreneurs regardless of ethnic heritage, race, religion, or nationality. However, business owners who are Black, Asian or from another ethnic minority background can often struggle to find funding for their business. You can read about the financial services sector commitments and activities lenders provide to support ethnic minority business owners here.

The road to net-zero

Every business has a role to play in tackling the impact of climate change by reducing carbon emissions. It is the right thing to do but also makes good business sense. UK Finance and its members are committed to supporting businesses through the provision of advice, support as well and access to finance where appropriate. Read this guide from the CBI and UK Finance to help you get started on planning what you need to do to reduce carbon emissions and whether you should consider using external finance.

Questions you might have