How SME owners’ characteristics influences external advice and access to finance

David Irwin

    Research output: Preprint or Working paperWorking paper


    This paper aims to investigate the linkage between the use of external advice and access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK, with particular consideration of differences in personal characteristics: gender, ethnicity and education. The approach adopted for the research is a telephone survey conducted by the Barclays small business research team in late 2005 on behalf of the authors. These data are quantitative in nature and involve a large sample of 400 SMEs with specific questions analysed by gender, ethnicity and education level. The approach adopted is robust and empirically sound and is a long established research methodology. We find that there appears to be a correlation between the provision of external advice and the ability to raise bank finance. Furthermore, there are clear gender, ethnic and educational differentials in the use of particular sources of advice, for example: Gender • men and women are equally likely to use accountants as sources of advice. • men are more likely to use family and friends and solicitors. • women, however, are around twice as likely to access external advice from Business Link and Enterprise Agencies. Ethnicity • family and friends is predominant amongst Asians or black respondents and the other ethnic group, which is also slightly true of accountants and solicitors. • ethnic minority respondents were considerably less likely to use Business Link/ Enterprise Agencies. Education • graduates are most likely to use solicitors and accountants, whilst they are very low users of advice from family and friends and Business Links/Enterprise Agencies. • O level and A level educated respondents predominate in family and friends and Business Link/ Enterprise Agencies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBirmingham
    PublisherAston University
    ISBN (Print)9781854497130
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

    Bibliographical note



    • external advice
    • access to finance
    • SMEs
    • gender
    • ethnicity
    • education


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