• Access to bank finance for UK SMEs in the wake of the recent financial crisis

      Cowling, M; Liu, W; Zhang, N.; University of Brighton (Emerald, 05/09/2016)
      The purpose of this paper is to investigate how entrepreneurs demand for external finance changed as the economy continued to be mired in its third and fourth years of the global financial crisis (GFC) and whether or not external finance has become more difficult to access as the recession progressed. Using a large-scale survey data on over 30,000 UK small- and medium-sized enterprises between July 2011 and March 2013, the authors estimate a series of conditional probit models to empirically test the determinants of the supply of, and demand for external finance. Older firms and those with a higher risk rating, and a record of financial delinquency, were more likely to have a demand for external finance. The opposite was true for women-led businesses and firms with positive profits. In general finance was more readily available to older firms post-GFC, but banks were very unwilling to advance money to firms with a high-risk rating or a record of any financial delinquency. It is estimated that a maximum of 42,000 smaller firms were denied credit, which was significantly lower than the peak of 119,000 during the financial crisis. This paper provides timely evidence that adds to the general understanding of what really happens in the market for small business financing three to five years into an economic downturn and in the early post-GFC period, from both a demand and supply perspective. This will enable the authors to consider what the potential impacts of credit rationing on the small business sector are and also identify areas where government action might be appropriate.
    • Did firm age, experience, and access to finance count? SME performance after the global financial crisis

      Cowling, M; Liu, W; Zhang, N.; University of Brighton (Springer, 10/05/2017)
      This paper examines the relationships between firm age and entrepreneurs experience on SME performance after the 2008/09 global financial crisis. We find that in general the crisis had a long-lasting scarring effect on the SME sector, but there is evidence of some recovery in performance. Interestingly, the well-established, and negative, firm age-growth relationship still holds, but entrepreneurial experience did not have any substantive effects on small business performance. Our findings suggest that the severity of the crisis meant that previous entrepreneur experiences had little value in this unique and uncertain environment. However, young firms still accounted for a disproportionately high share of growth, especially among the fastest growing firms.
    • The World is your Oyster: The Effects of Knowledge, Human Capital, Technology and Entry Timing on International Growth

      Cowling, M; Liu, W; Zhang, N.; University of Brighton (Senate Hall Academic Publishing, 27/06/2016)
      We draw on elements of several established theories of internationalization to provide a framework for exploring international market entry and scale of entry measured by number of foreign markets entered for a sample of young, high-tech, firms from the UK and Germany. We find that founding team human capital is associated with more extensive internationalization, as is intensity of R&D, early internationalization and early stage venture capital. We also find that internationalizing firms who choose the US as their first international market entry are also those most likely to develop more extensive international market presence. Degree of asset specificity, in contrast, is associated with less extensive internationalization.
    • UK credit and discouragement during the GFC

      Cowling, M; Liu, W; Minniti, M; Zhang, N.; University of Brighton (Springer, 06/06/2016)
      The availability of credit to entrepreneurs with good investment opportunities is an important facilitator of economic growth. Under normal economic conditions, most entrepreneurs who requested loans receive them. In a global financial crisis, popular opinion is that banks are severely restricting lending to smaller businesses. This assumes that low levels of investment are caused by supply-side restrictions in the credit market. Little is said about potential changes in the demand for credit and how it is influenced by entrepreneurs’ perceptions about supply-side restrictions. One particularly interesting, and under-researched, group of small businesses is that who have potentially good investment opportunities, but are discouraged from applying for external funding as they fear rejection. In this study, we question whether these entrepreneurs were correct in their assumptions. We find that levels of discouragement are quite low in general at 2.7 % of the total smaller business population. Further analysis implies that 55.6 % of discouraged borrowers would have got loans had they applied.
    • What really happens to small and medium-sized enterprises in a global economic recession? UK evidence on sales and job dynamics

      Cowling, M; Liu, W; Ledger, A; Zhang, N.; University of Brighton (Sage, 13/01/2014)
      This article uses UK data to consider how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)1 coped during the recent financial crisis. This is important, as SMEs are major contributors to job creation, but are vulnerable to falling demand. It finds that 4 in 10 SMEs experienced a fall in employment during the recession, and 5 in 10 experienced a fall in sales. Within 12 months of the recession, three-quarters of entrepreneurs had a desire to grow. This suggests that while the immediate effects of recession are severe, entrepreneurs recover quite quickly. Importantly, the analysis found that recessionary growth is hugely concentrated among entrepreneurs with the highest human capital.