HSBC unveils £10bn fund for UK SMEs
HSBC has launched a £10 billion lending fund for SMEs in the UK as it looks to tap into this lively market.
The bank says it continues to be open to lending, having approved 91% of small business lending applications in the last year.
Ian Stuart, UK CEO, HSBC, says: “We want to put SMEs in a stronger position to make investments that will stimulate local economies and create more jobs.”
It states that a key focus of this year’s fund is to encourage more export. HSBC cites a 2016 report by the UK’s Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which noted that one in five (21%) of small businesses currently export, but “there is potential to double this figure with the right support”.
HSBC also revealed its research findings into 1,000 UK SMEs, both those already exporting and those that are considering it.
For potential exporters, barriers to growth included a lack of understanding of local market (68%); a lack of international business experience (73%); and problems overcoming language/cultural barriers (60%).
The 2017 SME fund and the bank’s broader package of support also includes a free banking offer of up to 18 months for start-ups and 12 months for switchers; and access to its Connections Hub.
As reported earlier this month, this hub is a digital platform to connect buyers and sellers around the world. Businesses in Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, the UK and the US can sign up to the multi-lingual hub for free. The service will be available to customers in France in the coming weeks and additional countries and territories will be added in the second half of the year.