BUSINESS LEADERS CALL FOR BETTER ACCESS TO FINANCE

29 October 2012

More than 80 business leaders from across the region attended The Gatwick Diamond Initiative’s annual flagship business event at the Arora Hotel Gatwick in Crawley on Thursday 25th October. This year, the event theme was Funding for Growth.

More than 80 business leaders from across the region attended The Gatwick Diamond Initiative's annual flagship business event at the Arora Hotel Gatwick in Crawley on Thursday 25th October. This year, the event theme was Funding for Growth.

"As a business-led economic partnership, the Gatwick Diamond Initiative knows that when economic growth starts to build momentum, access to finance will be vitally important", said Rosemary French, Executive Director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative. "We decided to focus on finance this year as our quarterly Business Survey reveals that many companies are not seeking external finance and that those that do encounter difficulties. Firms are unaware of the alternative sources of finance available to them, with many continuing to rely on traditional forms such as bank loans."

Keynote speaker, Marcus Stuttard, Head of UK Primary Markets and Head of AIM at the London Stock Exchange spoke about the role of AIM, which is the London Stock Exchange's international market for smaller growing companies. Since its launch in 1995, over 3,000 companies from across the globe have chosen to join AIM. Powering the companies of tomorrow, AIM helps mid-sized companies raise the capital they need for expansion. "Access to growth finance will be critical to support the Gatwick Diamond's businesses in harnessing opportunities and driving forward growth in the wider economy" said Marcus. "Ambitious companies looking to grow, should consider AIM as a source of finance."

As Regional Director of the Business Growth Fund, Marion Bernard also spoke about helping to build British business by making long term capital investments of £2m to £10m in ambitious fast growing companies. She explained how the Business Growth Fund uses growth potential as its key criteria, and how investments can be used to fund a wide variety of business plans including strategic acquisition, export drives and new product development. She said she was keen to hear from companies in the Gatwick Diamond area seeking long-term capital to drive their future success.

The final presentation of the afternoon was from entrepreneur Christopher Shaw, CEO and co-founder of Platform Black Invoice Trading - an innovative alternative form of finance for small and medium-sized businesses. Platform Black enables companies to raise short term working capital, against the value of their invoice receivables, by selling them at a discount to the best bidder on a specially-designed auction platform.

Following the presentations, delegates were then asked to consider what the strategic priorities of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative might be for the short and medium term, given its aim to create the right conditions for sustainable economic growth. A variety of topics were considered including the proposed second runway at Gatwick Airport and the need to create new jobs by attracting companies to relocate to the area.

 
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