Fabian Demicoli

GRTU survey suggests room for improvement for funds applicable to SMEs

GRTU has for the past month been carrying out a survey to provide statistical answers to the above questions. This is in line with GRTU's renewed efforts this year to expose SMEs to what is available, discover any short-comings in the way schemes are being administered and propose changes with the aim of improving the situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funds, schemes, grants, tax credits are available no doubt BUT:

Do SMEs know about them? Are they accessible? Are they really suitable to the needs of SMEs? Do they exclude large amounts of possible users?

The full results of the survey will be unveiled today during the conference on access to finance being held at the Corinthia Palace Hotel starting at 13.00 hrs.

The survey found that 32% of respondents benefitted from a type of fund, grant, scheme, tax credit, etc… with the majority saying they received between €5,000 and €250,000.

69% of those that did not benefit said that it is because they never tried, 18% said they had not felt the need until now and 13% said they attempted but had their application refused. The refusal was because they either did not match the criteria themselves or of the scheme and a small group said they were refused for no apparent reason or because the project was not deemed to be innovative enough. The largest chunk, 33%, made the first steps but got discouraged on the way due to bureaucracy.

When we asked them what schemes had they heard about, aimed at helping SMEs access funds, the most popular was the JEREMIE initiative being administered by BOV, however still 39% said they never heard of any. 53% however chose to say that they know of the existence of schemes that can help them access loans at lower collateral and guarantees, with only 10% of these saying they actually tried to make use of them with half of these being successful.

We asked respondents to tell us form where do they most frequently learn of schemes and how would they like to receive the information. Highest ranking were Government in general through advertising and promotions and the GRTU, followed by the initiatives and information provided more directly by the Government authorities. Their preference is to learn by email and through information sessions and direct one to one meetings.

59% said they were not completely satisfied with the schemes currently offered by Government authorities. They said improvements were needed in the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork applying entailed. They also complained that the payments took too long and that the schemes did not match their real needs. Most also complained that if they found a scheme they were interested in they would probably find that there is something in the criteria that made them ineligible to apply or else if there is a scheme which they can apply for they would have no real interest in it.

Throughout the survey it was evident that there is lack of information and enterprises themselves stated that they need more guidance and information that is accessible. The enterprises answering the questionnaire went on to suggest what they think would constitute good ideas for funding.

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