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Assessing the needs of small businesses

20 February 2013

The needs of small businesses are at risk of being overlooked by the Welsh Government's Economic Renewal Plan, according to new research undertaken by Cardiff Business School.

Commissioned by Federation of Small Business Wales, the study examined whether the identification of priority sectors helped or hindered small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).

The research found that the vast majority of SMEs are unaware of whether their firm fits into a priority sector. It found that the majority of firms were also unaware of the support mechanisms available to them, for example, the Finance Wales JEREMIE fund. 

Dr Andrew Crawley, author of the report said: "Wales is not alone in using a sector based approach to support economic development. What this report tells us is that those running small and medium sized enterprises within the priority sectors are often unable to identify themselves as being a part of that sector.

"A number of firms thought that they were not members of a priority sector, but further questioning revealed that they were.

"The report also gives an insight into the concerns of those running SMEs in Wales. These are fairly generic, with finance and business rates being critical problems."

Firms across all sectors shared the same business needs, with marketing identified as a crucial area for support.

The report also highlighted a serious lack of financial awareness amongst SMEs which often resulted in SMEs being funded through high cost means including credit cards and overdrafts.

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