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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 23 January 2006

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SMEs turn to banks for finance only out of habit

VENTURE Finance survey reveals SMEs are missing opportunities for reduced risk and more flexible finance.  The new research released this week revealed that 42% of SMEs only conduct their business finance with high street banks out of habit. The survey, published by Venture Finance's Manchester office, also revealed that a third of business owners rely on banks because they lack knowledge of other funding options. Startlingly, only a quarter approached their bank for funding because it was well trusted or had a good reputation.

The findings suggest that entrepreneurs may be failing to access the most suitable funding for their business. Added to this is the fact that owners of SMEs are risking their personal assets by opting for finance from banks.

Despite lacking knowledge of other sources of finance, the survey revealed that SMEs are positive about making changes to their financial provider, with only 5% saying they fear changing their source of funding. This signals a positive future for businesses as they release the full potential of their company with improved finance.

Debbie Bell, Venture Finance's Regional Director for the North West, commented:- "SMEs cannot afford to be idle with their finances. Companies often turn to banks as a one-stop shop to provide all their business finance. However, banks operate a one size fits all policy which may not suit every organisation. With a specialist financer, SMEs can benefit from flexible finance that is tailored to their specific needs.  More importantly, with invoice finance business owners do not need to provide a personal guarantee, unlike the majority of banks. This makes business much safer for anyone wishing to run their own company. SMEs should investigate the options that are available to them and seize the opportunities that improved funding could provide."


Liverpool remembers Holocaust

LIVERPOOL residents can mark the 61st anniversary of the Holocaust by recording their thoughts and feelings in a special Book of Commitment.  The book will be officially opened in the Town Hall on Monday (23 January) by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Alan Dean, the President of Merseyside Jewish Representative Council, Gerry Lipson, and Reverend Steven Brooks, Rector of Liverpool.

Councillor Dean said:- "Liverpool's Book of Commitment gives people the opportunity to remember victims of the Holocaust and Nazi prosecution.  The Holocaust was one of the defining events of the 20th century and it's important we never forget the atrocities that happened."

For the third year running, people can log on to a special website to enter their thoughts and feelings about the Holocaust, or people can also sign a Book of Commitment in the foyer at Liverpool Town Hall. A lit candle will be kept next to the book as a symbol of hope.

Councillor Dean added:- "We want to make sure that it is as many people as possible pay their respects for the victims of the Holocaust, and all those who have suffered from crimes against humanity.  Having an electronic Book of Commitment as well as a book in the Town Hall means that many more people will be able to record their thoughts and feelings."

Hundreds of people are expected to log on and show their commitment with access to over 350 computers throughout the city, via libraries and City Learning Centres. To access the online site, go to

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on Friday 27 January and the theme is 'One Person Can Make a Difference'.

The day marks the 61st anniversary of the liberation of the extermination and concentration camps. It gives everyone the chance to show their respect for the survivors of Nazi persecution and mass murder, and to listen to what they can tell us about the best and the worst of human behaviour.

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