It has been recently reported by Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce in its Q3 Economic Forecast that “Britain has become one of the fastest-growing economies” and that it is “leading, rather than following other major economies when it comes to short term growth”. The Federation of Small Businesses’ Small Business Index reached an all time high level with all sectors recording a positive outlook for the upcoming three months. A good proportion of these businesses also reported expecting increases in turnover and in employment.
As the year has progressed, we have found the activity levels of the businesses in London, Kent and Sussex to be reflective of these comments with businesses demonstrating a strength and confidence in themselves in the corporate and commercial activity that they are taking part in. In particular, we have seen a very strong increase through the year in all sectors and in particular, in growth transactions such as M&A, joint ventures and alternative fundraising.
The active pursuit of these opportunities may require external monies. The funding options available to businesses are becoming more and more diverse. Even banks are tasked with ensuring that their customers are appraised of alternative funding solutions when they approach a bank for a loan. We are now regularly asked to advise businesses on emerging funding solutions such as equity or debt crowdfunding platforms, peer-to peer lending, pension-led funding, invoice trading and local government loans. Happily, these alternate forms are available from providers in the Kent and Sussex markets which hopefully means that the local economies will continue to thrive, not only from the increased presence of such funders on patch, but from the businesses that they help to fund.
The range of options for businesses is wide but with more and more press on these funding routes and more advice available, businesses are well-placed to assess what might be suitable for their business needs. For example, Kent County Council, continue to develop their range of funding schemes by launching a further 0% loan scheme for businesses. This runs alongside their existing interest free loan scheme available to Kent businesses. On the other end of the scale, publically listed, Chapel Down Group plc recently completed its equity crowdfunding campaign and placing. This crowdfunding initiative raised the target amount of £3.95 million in just over three weeks. Following in the footsteps of other companies who have raised funding in the hope that those who share a passion for the product would support it, Chapel Down offered a stake in the business with a good discount on the vineyard’s wines for as long as they hold shares in the company.
The additions this year to the team in the Sevenoaks, Kent office to focus on Kent and London and the recent arrival of Dominic Travers to drive forward the team’s services from Brighton, Sussex office were well timed to add further strength and depth to the existing Kent and Sussex teams in servicing the needs our active clients and to be available on demand to a wealth of businesses who are actively pursuing new opportunities to grow and develop their businesses whether that be organically or by acquisition.