On 29 June 2018, former Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell released the report from the Affordable Capital for SME Growth Inquiry.

The inquiry explored international and national initiatives that aim to address the funding gap for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Lenders consider SME’s high risk and offer capital with restrictive terms and conditions, high interest rates, and demand security (usually the family home).

The inquiry examined:

  • Australian initiatives where the government shares the lending risk, including Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation
  • state and territory initiatives to support small business start-ups and growth
  • international initiatives, including the British Business Bank and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Small Business Lending Fund.

The report has eight recommendations outlining initiatives to increase the supply of capital, and raise awareness of alternative sources of finance outside traditional banking.

Business Growth Fund research paper

Recommendation 1 in the Affordable Capital for SME Growth inquiry report is to establish a Business Growth Fund, a private investment fund focussed on long term funding solutions for SMEs. ASBFEO has developed a research paper that outlines possible sources of funding, structure and products of such a fund.

We welcome the governments’ commitment to fast track establishment of such a fund as announced on 14 November 2018 by Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg MP and Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, Senator Michaelia Cash.