A regional look at how UK SMEs are faring

02/07/2019 By Shiona Davies


Since 2011, the SME Finance Monitor has provided comprehensive data on SME sentiment about access to finance and broader business issues. There are many ways in which this data can be analysed, and once a year a report is published that takes a look at behaviour and sentiment of businesses in each English region and each devolved nation.

The 2018 regional SME Finance Monitor report has just been published (June 2019).  Below is a summary of some of the key indicators of business health across regions and nations.  There is a chapter for each region and devolved nation in the full report, for those wanting more depth on a particular location.

These key indicators are in three groups, with an interactive map for each below.

For each region/devolved nation a number of factors were significantly different from the overall scores, once we had allowed for the profile of SMEs in that region (their size and age etc), so each region/devolved nation is colour coded to reflect its net position on these factors (the number of statistically better than average scores – the number of worse than average scores).

By clicking on an area below you will see where a region/devolved nation scored better or less well than their peers  - in all instances green means better scores (including a lower score on a negative indicator).

Positive business indicators reflect the current state of the SME and how well placed it is to move forward.  Ten current and future indicators were used:

  1. good external risk rating
  2. developed as a business in the last 3 years
  3. made a profit in the last 12 months
  4. undertake business planning
  5. import or export
  6. have been innovative in the past 3 years
  7. plan to grow
  8. plan growth-related activities
  9. plan to apply for finance
  10. meet the definition of “Ambitious risk takers”

Negative business indicators also reflect the current state of the SME and what might hinder it moving forward in future. 6 current and future indicators were used:

  1. worse than average external risk rating
  2. retrenched as a business
  3. made a loss in the last 12 months
  4. see economic climate as a major barrier to business
  5. see political uncertainty as a major barrier to business
  6. expect to decline in size in the coming year

Moving towards, or away from, finance. These are factors that make SMEs more likely to be using finance and those that potentially move them away from finance. 8 current and future indicators were used:

Towards finance:

  1.  Use external finance
  2. had a borrowing event
  3. plan to apply
  4. agree that happy to use finance to help the business grow

Away from finance:

  1. Happy non-seeker of finance
  2. Injected personal funds
  3. hold £10k or more or credit balances
  4. Permanent non-borrower

Like what you see?

BVA BDRC offers a range of reporting and storytelling techniques. Our aim is to provide commercially-focused outputs, flexible reporting, engaging stories and complete buy-in across your organisation. We report to clients’ requirements, but when asked for input will always suggest we’re asked to spend our time providing insight, not just data.

BVA BDRC reporting capabilities

We use data visualisation tools to provide you with:

  • Highly interactive charts (filter/compare a number of relating categories using user-friendly layout)
  • Dashboards (compatible with all devices)
  • Stories (present data narrative, compare categories)
  • Website embedding (sharing outputs publicly and keeping full Tableau functionality)
  • Downloads include Excel crosstabs, Access data files and Images (.jpg, .png, .bmp, .emf)
  • Our design and data visualisation team can make bespoke dashboards with unique imagery

Talk to us today 0207 400 100 or use our contact form