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Call for evidence: access to finance

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We’re starting work on a new evidence review, on access to business finance.

We don’t really need to spell out how important this issue is to firms around the country. Access to bank lending – or lack of it – has been one of the major complaints from SMEs to Government in the past few years. Firms in high-growth, risky sectors like technology and biotech seem to have persistent problems accessing venture capital, especially outside London. Many LEPs are keen to set up local finance vehicles for such companies. And alternative finance platforms like peer to peer lending are just starting to take off.

As ever we’re kicking off with a call for evidence, and we’d love to hear from you.

This review covers three policy strands:

Public loans on subsidised loans – where the public sector directly lends all or part of the money to the firm, whether this is on commercial or subsidised ratesGovernment loan guarantees – The government guarantees or partly guarantees the loanFacilitating alternative forms of lending – creating networks, incentivising or match-making for Business Angels, micro-finance, venture capital, P2P lending and crowdfunding, self-financing groups, group lending and so on.

As we’ve said before, we’re looking for evaluation evidence – specifically impact evaluations that include before/after analysis, and have data on both ‘treated’ firms / places and comparison groups. We’re also interested in existing reviews of the evidence in the field.

Some of you have already pointed us to work you know of or have done – a huge thanks for that. We’d encourage the rest of you to have a think and point us to anything that might fit. If you’re not sure it’s relevant or right – please let us see it! We don’t want to miss anything key, so we’d rather have material even if it gets filtered out later. As usual, the easiest way to reach us is via email or twitter.

The deadlines for submitting evidence is 27 June – do get in touch!