SME Access To Finance Survey: 2019

This report sets out the findings of the SME Access to Finance Survey 2019.


SMEs are vital to the Scottish economy[1]

  • SMEs account for 99% of businesses in Scotland
  • SMEs account for 41% of turnover
  • 55% of Scottish private sector employees work in an SME

SMEs' use and demand for external finance has fallen over time, with most SMEs relying on their own reserves

  • SMEs' use and demand for external finance has fallen over time
  • The overall value of borrowing by SMEs has fallen
  • 15% reported a borrowing event in the last 12 months
  • 85% did not seek finance and said nothing had stopped them from applying

Credit conditions had improved significantly and most SMEs were successful in obtaining all the finance applied for

  • Success rates were higher than pre-recession 2007
  • 6% turned down in at least one application
  • 4% of applications were rejected
  • 8 in 10 received 100% of finance sought

However, groups of SMEs were still facing obstacles in accessing finance

  • More than 1 in 10 medium-sized firms and manufacturing firms rated finance as a critical problem
  • 33% of rural SMEs felt bank branch closures were affecting their ability to access finance
  • Half of SMEs were not confident in understanding the different types of finance available



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