UK start-up businesses hindered by skills shortage and funding gap

Small firms "struggling" to grow with half of entrepreneurs having used money from family members to finance their business

The growing skills shortage and a lack of access to funding are holding back UK start-us, a new survey of the Institute of Director’s (IoD) 99 network has revealed.

A survey of start-up and small business owners; more than two-fifths (42%) of respondents claimed they had struggled to hire employees with the requisite skills, while 39% cited an inability to source finance as a barrier to growth.

When it came to access finance to grow, over half (53%) admitted to using money from their family to fuel their business, while 45% said they had borrowed money from friends.

Crowdfunding had been used by 30% of business owners, with just over a third saying government grants had been useful and 21% said government start-up loans had been useful.

The survey also found that 61% of entrepreneurs were in full-time work when they started their own business and just over a fifth had started their business with the intention of having a positive impact on society.

Jimmy McLoughlin, deputy head of policy at the IoD, commented: “The start-up revolution has taken hold in Britain like nowhere else in Europe. It is a worry, therefore, that so many start-ups struggle to hire skilled employees.

“The push to teach children digital skills is part of the long-term solution, but it is [also] crucial that Britain’s immigration system is open and easy to navigate.

“Innovations like crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are quickly becoming mainstream options. We should strip back the layers of complexity which currently stand in the way.”

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