KIRKLEES firms going into 2013 can learn lessons from the success of last summer’s Olympics, says a financial expert.
Alex McWhirter, chief executive of funding body Finance Yorkshire, said: “The success of this summer’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games demonstrated that planning and investing in the future is a massively worthwhile exercise.
“I think that all businesses – ours included – can learn from the Olympic achievement.”
Mr McWhirter said: “Looking back over the last 12 months, we have had a very busy and constructive year. By the end of September, we had provided investment to our 200th SME. By November, we had invested more than £30m in SMEs in Yorkshire and Humber.
“And we’ve now taken the amount of funding provided to businesses to more than £32.5m. We’ve achieved all of this in just over two years, which is rewarding and demonstrates that we are making a difference.”
Said Mr McWhirter: “We said at the beginning of 2012 that the key for us was to increase our investment rate and I am pleased to say we have managed to do that despite the difficult economic conditions.
“A total of 280 investments have been completed, creating and safeguarding more than 5,190 jobs and generated a private sector leverage of more than £56m.”
Looking ahead, he said: “We have already put in place a significant level of groundwork to ensure our activity leads to increased momentum in providing investment for SMEs.
“We will continue to provide the most appropriate investment package to companies that we work with and this will be our mantra for 2013. However, confidence in the market is the key element for success. If this is lacking, owner-managers will be reluctant to develop and expand their businesses, reducing the possibility of further growth in the long-term.”
Said Mr McWhirter: “There are numerous sources of finance available to owner managers, but this landscape of funding lacks cohesion and faced with such confusion, they tend to approach the likes of banks and friends to secure finance. This must change in order for the UK economy to grow.”
“If we achieve these, it will lead to sustainable economic growth and prosperity across Yorkshire and Humber.”