Red tape and lack of advice around funding two big stumbling blocks for mid-market business, says Sage Enterprise Market Europe CEO Jayne Archbold
Government rhetoric around the importance of mid-market businesses is not translating into practical support for growth, according to Sage Enterprise Market Europe CEO Jayne Archbold.
In an exclusive chat with Growth Business, Archbold said she hoped whoever is in power following May’s General Election will improve the support structures for growing businesses.
“Currently I don’t think the government is doing enough to support growth,” she said. “When a business is growing from a typical smaller business into mid-sized business and also established business – while looking to bring new product lines and entering new markets – the things that I’m hearing are that the general red tape and the lack of advice around funding are real issues.”
Quoting figures from the Sage European Economic Impact Report, Archbold revealed that 44% of mid-market companies want access to alternative funding, but she believes there is a “lack of information and support” in the area.
The UK can learn from more established European mid-market economies, according to Sage director of strategy and corporate communication Christopher Catterfield.
“The whole system in Germany is much more tailored towards keeping that growth engine running,” he said. “During the financial crisis all the economies got hit. But the reason Germany was able to get through it is the diversity of all the different market businesses.
“You need an enabling framework around any business. Mid-market businesses don’t need help at things they are good at, but advice around funding and innovation is key.”
With more routes to funding available than ever before, the government “has a role to play” in explaining what is out there for growing businesses, according to Archbold.
“Depending on where a business is and its lifecycle, certain routes may be more appropriate than others,” she explained. “And understanding that piece is the thing that’s not really clear for people today.”
Despite the uncertainty around funding options, there is optimism about future growth from businesses in all the major European economies. This is borne out by the figures in the Sage report, in which 73% of businesses say they expect turnover to stay the same or increase in the future. Archbold believe that they are “right to be optimistic”.
“What I see is people looking for opportunities that they can create themselves, which is a mindset you normally see in a start-up but is still very much there in mid-market businesses today,” she said. “They’ve weathered the economic storm of the past few years and, because of their agility and innovation, they are coming through stronger.”