British entrepreneurs are hungry for growth, yet frustratingly feel tethered by the current climate. The new State of Small Business report suggests finnCap’s Ambition Nation initiative to help grow UK PLC could not come at a better time.
The whirlwind of economic uncertainty right now has done little to hamper the ambitions of the UK’s SME business leaders. Rightly so. The overarching feeling is one of frustration; CEOs of high growth potential companies say that to negotiate the current landscape is like driving with the handbrake on.
That was the emphatic message heard by finnCap Corporate Development Manager Tzuki Stewart, attending the release of The State of Small Business report recently at the House of Commons.
British SME leaders appear shy about shouting about their successes
Hosted by Sage CEO Stephen Kelly and featuring speakers that included entrepreneur Emma Sinclair MBE, the youngest person to have floated a company on the London Stock Exchange, and Professor Stephen Roper of the Enterprise Research Centre at Warwick Business School, the event laid bare findings from the study commissioned by cloud computing company Sage and global innovation foundation Nesta. It revealed much about how ambitious our businesses are, and what’s holding them back.
The number of SMEs trading has increased by nearly a third, despite having to negotiate a recession
Notably, the Sage and Nesta report highlights somewhat of a postcode lottery with SME growth and productivity, currently an economic lifeblood.
SMEs account for 60% of all private sector employment and 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK. In the last 10 years – incidentally, we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary here at finnCap – the number of SMEs trading has increased by nearly a third, despite having to negotiate a recession along the way. They’re a big deal and they’re growing unabated.
But it can depend on where you are and, as a result, the resources and the motivation you’re provided. Since 2010, SME growth in Northern Ireland, for example, has been a mere tenth of that in London.
These stark local disparities appear to hinge on the provision – or lack thereof – of a detailed plan for inspiring and encouraging development. Indeed, the mid-Ulster region of Northern Ireland bucked the downward trend for exactly that reason.
Of course, ‘encouraging development’ can cover all manner of factors, such as redefining local government policy, to growing exporting capabilities, to improving the skills and providing the resources that enable digital transformation.
For finnCap, however, as we gear up to launch Ambition Nation, this notion struck a more broadly resounding and particularly timely chord.
Business leaders are not being presented with the right investment
Ambition Nation inspires
Encouragement, inspiration, information and resource to help ambitious companies grow and scale-up are at the very heart of Ambition Nation.
Ambition Nation creates the tribe that high-growth companies have been trying to find
The State of Small Business event paraded the maxim, ‘quietly ambitious’, when describing British SME leaders. They appear shy about shouting about their successes in scaling up, which feels resultant of their deep-seated frustrations.
Quiet ambition is ambition nonetheless; turning the volume up can just be a case of having the right people in the room that want to listen.
This is what Ambition Nation is about. There’s a big reason that growth-ready business leaders today are ready to drive change, yet feel like they’re driving with the handbrake on, and that’s they’re not being presented with the right investment. More often than not, that’s down to not knowing one’s options, and not getting your case in front of the right investor.
Ambition Nation spring-boarded out of AIM High, our initiative to get companies to look to the public markets to raise capital, particularly those that hadn’t considered AIM before. This was a great step as CEOs discovered new opportunities for funding they never would have thought of.
As it turns out, after two years of AIM High, we realised we could take things even further. There were lots of scale-up companies we hadn’t talked to – inspirational business stories that hadn’t been heard. We asked how we could unleash this untapped growth potential.
CEOs discovered new opportunities for funding they never would have thought of
A new kind of tribe
Our experience has found that people are most inspired to explore new funding options when they hear stories of their peers’ successes.
A detailed plan for inspiring and encouraging development
A key message that emerged from The State of Small Business event was that of ‘finding your tribe’. Entrepreneurs know that having a great network is crucially important, but this goes deeper. Your tribe isn’t simply those people that share your interest; it’s those people that share your ambition.
They lift you up; they inspire you to do more, reach further and explore new paths to grow. They create an infectious energy. Hearing the stories from your tribe – immersing yourself in that mindset – can be game-changing for fuelling business leaders and creating growth.
We create a roadmap for growth
Here at finnCap, our speciality lies in knowing how and when to tell the right investment story to the right investor – that one that is passionately engaged in your story; Ambition Nation is our way of super-charging that ability in ourselves, and amplifying the aspirations of the people we work with.
We’re creating those investment stories, bringing the country’s most dynamic and exciting business leaders together to produce that inspirational energy, all the while bolstered by our own expertise, advice and support.
Ambition Nation creates the tribe that high-growth companies have been trying to find. By bringing together and showcasing this country’s most exciting players, by showing there are far more funding options they can access than they perhaps realise, and by providing support that comes from years of experience in scaling up, we create a roadmap for growth. Time to take the handbrake off and start driving.
Ambition Nation launches at the London Stock Exchange on 6 November 2017.
Our next event: Ambition Nation | Manchester Summit on 22 November 2017 - Register your place today.
Contact finnCap for more information and to find out how we can help you find the right investment to scale.