Barclays has launched a new small and medium-sized enterprise fund in Scotland, the bank announced on Thursday (June 9). According to reports, the fund, worth more than $700 million, doubles the financial institution’s support of the country’s SMEs.
“This is positive news and will be a real boost for Scotland’s SMEs, which are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Scotland’s economy minister, Keith Brown, in an announcement revealing the fund. “We know it is crucial that viable SMEs are able to access a range of finance to start up and grow their business, and I hope many businesses can benefit from today’s announcement from Barclays.”
Reports pointed to Barclays‘ expansion plans across Scotland as likely motivation behind the new SME fund.
Small businesses in Scotland are facing challenges as analysis uncovers a rising problem of late B2B payments in the country.
Reports last year by the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group Scotland found that public entities were withholding nearly $175 million in payments to construction firms, many of which are small businesses. Research found that 97 percent of public bodies retained some amount of money from their suppliers, using delayed payments for day-to-day cash flow purposes.
“Authorities are borrowing, free of charge, cash from firms in the industry which generally do not have easy or inexpensive access to finance,” the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group Scotland said in its report.
Barclays is looking to provide that access to finance with its new fund, the bank said.
“We believe we are equipped to help even more businesses realize their ambitions,” said Barclays Scotland Head of Business and Corporate Banking Jamie Grant in a statement this week.