SME Supports: Tips for Navigating Your Business through Uncertainty

By Paul O'Donovan

Yesterday, we held our annual conference, this year in a virtual setting.  The objective of the conference, titled ‘Navigating Your Business Through Uncertainty’, was to educate SMEs on how to access government supports, funding and alternative finance.  Our main message to SMEs is that with the right business planning, there are supports out there.

Our keynote speaker for the conference was Jim Barry from BlackRock Alternatives Investors, who said that it will be the end of 2021 before we see the real impact of Covid-19, especially at SME level. Jim expects to see volatility spikes. He also spoke about climate change, inflation and globalisation.

Mark Flood from Renatus and Alan O’Dea from Beechbrook Capital spoke about alternative funding to traditional banks for SMEs. They advised on equity and alternative debt and how there has never been so much money in the market. There are many options beyond traditional banking. Mark went on to say that equity is like a marriage and that it’s about more than money, it’s also about making sure there is value add from the equity partner in terms of expertise.

John McInerney from Aviva discussed pension options saying that a pension is highly efficient from a tax planning perspective. Whether you are a director of a small start-up, an established organisation, or a director hoping to extract money from a company prior to sale or retirement, there is a pension opportunity to suit everyone. John also said that pensions have a branding issue as in reality they are a great tax planning tool.

John Finn from Treasury Solutions spoke about currencies and Brexit, and how we will see a rise in interest rates in the next six months. He advised SMEs to talk to the right people in the banks and to have the right advisor.

There was a great mix of advice for business owners at all stages.

I would like to thank all of our speakers for taking the time to share their expertise and to everyone who attended the conference.  If you missed the conference, please contact us at: for the recording.