Lincolnshire has always a hub for small businesses. According to data supplied by the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership, small and micro businesses in the region employ a greater proportion of the workforce than they do nationally.
What’s more, the same businesses account for 98% of Lincolnshire’s total business population. With small businesses thriving across the county, it’s little surprise that the annual Made in Lincolnshire awards are always packed with success stories.
During the 2018 ceremony, the manufacturing sector stole the show with companies such as Chiselwood Limited and Fen-Bay Services Ltd helping to generate £3.4 billion for the local economy.
Financial help and stability are crucial for every business
While every aspiring entrepreneur might not have something to offer in the manufacturing industry, there are still plenty of ways to get ahead in Lincolnshire. The most obvious is to obtain a loan.
In association with the University of Lincoln, Lincs Innovation provides research and development loans up to £10,000 for small businesses.
Providing you can match 50% of the loan, it never has to be paid back. This kind of financial injection in the early stages of a project can be vital. Even if you’re business isn’t in a tech-based industry, there are still ways to get financial support.
To expand Claythorpe Watermill & Wildfowl Gardens, owners Mike and Rebecca Agate have received two business grants. That support has led to a string of innovations, including a regular movie night, which have helped the tourist attraction build up a stable level of support.
Although financial support is necessary at the start of a venture, there comes a time when you have to stand on your own two feet. Put simply, every business lives and dies by the money it makes. The easier someone can invest in your product or service, the more likely it is to survive.
Within the last decade, fintech has become a multi-billion-dollar industry with more than $41 billion invested in new financial products during H1 2018 alone. In addition to innovations such as PayPal and mobile services like Apple Pay, cryptocurrencies have fuelled the recent fintech surge.
Using tech to grow
Today, thanks to growing interest in decentralised payment networks, developers have found ways to link new and old practices. Today, investors and businesses alike can use fiat exchanges to buy Bitcoin and altcoins using Visa, MasterCard and PayPal.
By making it easier to own digital coins, these innovations have made it possible for emerging businesses to accept crypto payments. As well as putting business owners at the forefront of the next fintech revolution, cryptocurrencies are also non-local. This means that it’s easier to process international payments. The upshot of this is that any small business can use crypto technology to transform itself from a local entity to a global one with very little effort.
The final resource Lincolnshire businesses can use to their advantage is data. Another innovation from the online world, data analytics can be used to help owners understand their businesses better. Indeed, when the Lincolnshire Open Research and Innovation Centre (LORIC) opened its doors to local businesses, entrepreneurs were given an insight into how big data can generate more revenue.
Through a combination of spotting gaps in the market, developing new business models, identifying consumer habits and more, data analytics can take a small business to the next level. In fact, when you combine these numerical insights with fintech innovations and financial support, there are plenty of ways for local start-ups to join Lincolnshire’s thriving business economy.