The UK's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been affected massively by the COVID pandemic, but many have also been able to pivot quickly and diversify their service offering to see them through the period. But as government aids such as furlough begin to end from October, businesses must now start to plan for life after the pandemic help. Luke Davis, CEO and Founder of SME investment firm IW Capital, has commented on options that small businesses should look at to scale and grow despite the COVID recession: "This has been a turbulent period for many businesses across the country, one not experienced for generations, so help and assistance to scale and grow a business out of this time may seem difficult. However, despite some government schemes coming to an end, there are options SMEs can consider now, even during a recession:
Private Equity Sourcing growth capital from an investor, a group of investors or a fund can be a great way to raise money to invest back into your business, staff, research and development and new markets to help see your enterprise through the COVID period. While it may seem scary pitching to investors, everyone wants you and the business to succeed, and many firms now have dedicated teams to help you through difficult periods, make financial plans and even help the business build important and strategic networks.
For smaller amounts, crowdfunding can help entrepreneurs kick-off with a small amount of capital raised through a group of retail investors on an investment platform. These are not guaranteed to work but for smaller companies, this can help in the short term.
Having a mentor or 'angel' can help new entrepreneurs gain valuable experience from the business community and raise money at the same time. Angels can help in a varied range of capacities including helping to manage the finances, introduce you to a network or other angels or investors, or even passive investors who are there for guidance if you need them.
There is not a one-size-fits-all model for raising money, especially during a pandemic, so look at all your options, build your own personal network, and make sure you know your business inside and out. Even when furlough and the CBIL scheme come to an end, there are options, so make sure to explore them and see which one fits your business."