The British Business Bank 2021 SME Finance Survey

Results of the 2021 SME Finance Survey conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the British Business Bank have been released.

The author(s)

  • Jamie Douglas Public Affairs
  • Rebecca Klahr Public Affairs
  • Thomas Milner Public Affairs
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This annual survey, undertaken by Ipsos for the British Business Bank, explores SME awareness, use and experiences of different types of external finance. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and economic recovery, the 2021 survey also contained questions on Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) issues.

The findings feed into the British Business Bank’s Small Business Finance Markets report, published today, to assess how finance markets have changed.

This year’s findings show that:

  • Four in ten SMEs (41%) expect to grow over the next 12 months, higher than in 2020 (21%) and 2019 (28%).
  • Awareness of four of the five forms of alternative finance has increased since 2020.
  • The shifts away from traditional sources of finance towards government-backed finance seen between 2019 and 2020, persisted in 2021.
  • One in five SMEs (20%) are considering more than one provider, up from 14% in 2020.
  • One in three SMEs (34%) are considering applying for some form of external finance in the next 12 months.
  • One in three SMEs (35%) feel things have got worse for their business now that the UK-EU transition period has ended, while 7% feel things have got better.
  • More than half of SMEs (57%) place high priority on becoming more environmentally sustainable in the next 12 months.
  • Most SMEs feel implementing environmental sustainability and fair and ethical business practices will be beneficial for their business.

The full findings can be found on the British Business Bank website.

Technical Note
2,804 CATI and online interviews conducted between 27 September and 30 December 2021 with average interview length of 25-29 minutes:

  • SMEs defined as businesses having 0 to 249 employees  
  • Quotas were set by employment size, sector and region
  • Interviews with person responsible for managing business finances
  • Data was weighted to reflect the 2021 SME business profile published by BEIS

The author(s)

  • Jamie Douglas Public Affairs
  • Rebecca Klahr Public Affairs
  • Thomas Milner Public Affairs

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