Strapped for cash? Funding for UK high growth SMEs since the global financial crisis

Ross Brown, Neil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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While high growth firms (HGFs) are crucial drivers of economic growth, to date there has been a dearth of research examining their funding requirements. Drawing on a survey of over 8,000 UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), this paper investigates the capital structure and access to credit in high growth SMEs in the period following the global financial crisis. The findings challenge conventional wisdom about high growth SMEs in certain respects. They find it no harder than non-high growth SMEs to access external finance. The vast majority of high growth SMEs rely strongly on debt-based finance for their funding, not equity finance. High growth SMEs are much less likely to seek finance for working capital purposes but are no more likely to seek finance to invest in R&D than less rapidly growing SMEs. The findings suggest little justification for government intervention aimed at increasing credit availability for HGFs as currently espoused by the UK government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date21 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Entrepreneurship
  • SMEs
  • Gazelles
  • Innovation
  • Access to finance
  • Policy


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