Future Fund investment a win for small biz, says ASBFEO
Small businesses facing difficulties accessing capital could be given a leg up with the Future Fund exploring ways to invest in the sector, according to the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman.
Speaking at the Annual Private Equity and Venture Forum, Future Fund chief investment officer Dr Raphael Arndt said there are attractive investment opportunities in the SME sector that the organisation was looking at.
“We have a mutual desire to see Australia’s PE and venture industry thrive, and with it, Australia’s small and medium businesses get the capital and expertise they need to reach their full potential,” said Dr Arndt.
“There is no shortage of growing small and medium Australian businesses requiring capital. Their success is important to the development and diversification of the Australian economy, including ultimately our listed market should they go on to IPO.
“While banks have been the main funders of these companies, they have not been able to support all of the growth opportunities this sector has generated. And these businesses are too small to access debt or equity capital markets.”
ASBFEO Kate Carnell said feedback from the SME sector is that access to capital remains a significant barrier despite a healthy pipeline of businesses suitable for investment.
“Access to capital is critical for small businesses seeking to start or expand their operations,” Ms Carnell said.
“However, when seeking finance from the banks, loans have to be secured against bricks and mortar – which is usually a small business owner’s home.
“It is refreshing to read that the Future Fund believes there are attractive investment opportunities in the Australian SME sector in which it can invest.
“Supporting SME’s to realise their growth potential would provide strong investment returns and boost the economy.”