scale up to

Chamber member Smith & Williamson’s partner Nigel Hardy (pictured) discusses the different financial options available to start-up businesses.

Bristol and the West of England is one of the most enterprising regions in the UK. The city has been ranked the

best in England for starting a business and boasts a thriving start-up and incubator ecosystem, which includes the likes of the Engine Shed, SETSquared and Bristol & Bath Science Park. However, as any start-up

entrepreneur will testify, guiding a business through those crucial early months and years can be a lonely and challenging experience. This puts a premium on

appropriate and expert advice from your accountant, lawyer, bank, HR consultant or health and safety expert. According to Companies House,

an estimated eight out of ten businesses fail within a year so finding and retaining access to the right advice – including whether or not to incorporate or to register for VAT at the outset, reviewing

contracts, commercial support and ongoing employment issues – is critical. Starting a business, thereby

becoming responsible for a corporate entity, also involves taking on what can be a daunting set of duties around governance, filing and compliance, fiduciary matters, and other increasingly critical considerations, such as cyber security. The good news is that our

region is particularly well blessed with a range of locations where young businesses can grow in a professional way, such as Future Space and Desk Lodge. In addition, these locations also serve as business hubs where advisers often congregate. Business is above all about

people and membership of a body like Business West, the Institute of Directors or the Federation of Small Businesses can bring untold benefits to a young business.

One of the key personal

relationships to nurture is the one with your bank. Business owners need to actively manage this relationship in order to avoid any unwanted financial surprises. There are myriad alternatives to

traditional banks in the current business environment. Start-ups seeking finance can choose from a range of options:

Business loans As well as “traditional” funders such as banks and building societies there is the government’s Start-Up Loans Company, as well as peer-to-peer lending platforms like Funding Circle

Small business grants Sources include the Government, local authorities, European Commission, universities and charities.

Invoice financing and invoice factoring The former involves borrowing money against unpaid invoices, the latter selling unpaid invoices to a finance company.

Crowdfunding Posting a business pitch online and encouraging members of the public to pledge money.

24 insight JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019

Angel investors High net worth individuals, typically with extensive business experience, who can provide capital in exchange for equity.

“Bootstrapping” Self-funding your start-up with no external help.

The real challenge we face, not just here in the West of England but across the entire UK, is to become a fertile breeding ground for growing – or scale-up – businesses, as well as start-ups. It is no exaggeration to say that

our future economic prosperity and social well-being rests upon our ability to become a world- leading environment in which businesses can thrive and develop after they launch. According to the ScaleUp

institute, closing this “scale-up gap” has the potential to increase productivity, deliver up to 150,000 new jobs and add as much as £225bn towards GDP by 2034. As a leading accountancy, tax

and investment management group, Smith & Williamson is at the heart of the scale-up agenda, providing a wide range of services to ambitious growth businesses, as well as their owners and investors.

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