Business Growth Fund
Stephen Welton CEO, Business Growth Fund
“Every one of the businesses we have backed is committed to pursuing growth, taking risks and making personal sacrifices in order to continue building bigger businesses”
Congratulations to each of the businesses that feature in this year’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain book. It is a fantastic achievement and a recognition of everything that you have done to build a thriving company.
We hear it said a lot that smaller and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the British economy. This is not rhetoric: it is absolutely and inescapably true. SMEs create up to two-thirds of all new jobs, they account for 60% of all private sector employment and 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK. They are also the main drivers of productivity growth.
Take a look at the government’s Building our Industrial Strategy consultation paper and you will see an emphasis on productivity.
Right now, Britain is on average one day a week less productive than France, Germany and the US. That’s a sobering thought, but it’s also a clear marker in the sand.
The most effective way to reduce this gap is to identify, support, encourage and invest in the nation’s most innovative, ambitious and entrepreneurial companies – and then to hold them up as a beacon to others. We cannot and should not be shy about this.
This is why London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain book is so important, and it is why Business Growth Fund (BGF) is so passionate about offering our support to the campaign.
BGF has invested in more than 160 companies across the UK, some of whom feature in this book. Every one of the businesses we have backed is committed to pursuing growth, taking risks and making personal sacrifices in order to continue building bigger businesses. In exchange, we provide them with long-term funding and support to help them achieve their ambitions.
Looking ahead, the next 12 months are not likely to be easy for any business. For the time being, uncertainty is firmly entrenched. But many good entrepreneurs and management teams know that uncertainty, in and of itself, isn’t always a bad thing. Most have learnt not to obsess about an ideal situation and will look out for the opportunities amid the uncertainty.
My hope is that you will remain visible over the next 12 months and beyond; that you continue to grow; and that your achievements continue to be recognised. If the UK succeeds in closing the productivity gap, there is no doubt in my mind that this will be because of the collective efforts of businesses just like yours.