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More than a million small and medium-sized businesses in the UK have missed out on at least one new business opportunity in the past year because of a lack of funding.

On average, lost business deals caused by finance concerns cost SMEs nearly £80,000 a year, according to new research carried out by specialist bank Aldermore for its Future Attitudes report.

The report surveyed more than 1,000 business decision-makers across the UK and found a 4% increase in the number of companies affected by lack of funding in the past year.

Medium-sized businesses - those with between 50 and 249 employees - were the most affected, with more than two-fifths (42%) saying that they have been significantly impacted by not having access to the funding they need. On average, each medium-sized company lost out on additional income of nearly £111,000.

Regionally, businesses based in the South West are losing out the most on additional income due to missed business opportunities.

The survey found that nearly one-third of businesses say that their biggest issues are accessing appropriate funding and cash flow, with late payments also being a key worry.

Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director, business finance at Aldermore, said: “It is deeply concerning that, despite the ongoing Treasury Select Committee inquiry into sources of SME finance, the amount of businesses missing out on these opportunities has increased over the last 12 months.

“It is vital that lenders work closely with small and medium-sized companies to help them find solutions to their funding issues, ensuring new business opportunities are capitalised on.”

In March, Aldermore became an accredited provider under the British Business Bank’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) programme.

The accreditation will enable Aldermore to increase its supply of asset finance to the small business sector.

The new offering will initially be offered through select introducers, before being rolled out across Aldermore’s broker network in the coming months.

Earlier this year, it revealed a 20% rise in pre-tax profits in its first results since last year’s £1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) takeover by South Africa’s FirstRand Group.

The deal could open a range of future business growth opportunities as FirstRand already owns the MotoNovo vehicle finance business through its subsidiary WesBank.

Average potential income losses caused by lack of available finance

RegionAverage additional income missed per year
South West £165,945
West Midlands £119,471
East Midlands £116,292
South East £113.174
London £80,934

Source: Aldermore Future Attitudes Report

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