SMEs in London and South East failing to take-up government funding

3rd September 2008

An independent research poll conducted on behalf of Ixion has revealed that a staggering 85% of SMEs across London and the South East have lost-out on government funding available for their business to invest in training. The shocking results of the poll could partly be put down to a need for more positive action from the SME business base in response to contact from government funded brokerage services.

The poll, conducted among businesses with fewer than 250 employees, found that 81% of respondents said that their business had carried out some form of staff training in the past, yet a worrying 71% had not taken any positive steps to capitalise on a minimum of £1,500 in government funding available to them for training.

Graham Baker, CEO of Ixion, commented: “In an increasingly challenging business environment, investment in training is critical. These are worrying statistics, with over half a million* SMEs in London and the South East of England, businesses must realise that they can benefit from government funding available and have access to appropriate training to enhance their business, and in turn increase their competitive advantage.

“The Government has committed itself to the UK’s long term skills needs to achieve a world class skills profile by 2020. This research highlights that SMEs need to take some responsibility for making contact with organisations such as Ixion, which provides a gateway for businesses and individuals to access public funds, ensuring that they get signposted to, and benefit from, appropriate business support specialists and skills training that they are entitled to.”

Graham Baker concluded: “Businesses should understand that government-funded services such as the Business Link service, Train to Gain or Ixion run Advantage East are in existence to help and advise them on business growth and workforce development training. This support is particularly important given the current economic climate, where a trained workforce can give a competitive edge.”

On contact, the Ixion research uncovered that an incredible 96% of respondents said they would like to learn more about regional government funded schemes such as Ixion’s Train to Gain and Business Link services.

*According to Business Link, in 2006, there were 202,580 companies in the East of England and 304,090 companies in London with fewer than 250 employees.