Approximately one in three small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe has not managed to access the external business funding they desired in 2013, a new survey by the European Commission and European Central Bank has revealed. A further 15% also suggested that an inability to secure finance was a significant problem to their companies. It is believed by companies that access to finance has worsened during 2013, especially in relation to interest rates, collateral and guarantees required. Companies employing fewer than 10 people and SMEs that had been trading for less than two years suffered the most, with 18% and 28% respectively saying they had been turned down for funding. The barriers to traditional sources of funding, such as bank finance, included the requirement for guarantees, a long credit history as well as interest rates being too high. European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani said: “Since the start of the crisis, evidence has consistently shown that SMEs face large and disproportionate obstacles to accessing the finance they need to survive and thrive” UK SMEs that issue invoices can often access invoice finance solutions, such as invoice factoring and invoice discounting, which look favourably on new businesses as they do not require an extensive credit history. Jamie Blessed, Corporate Manager for SBF, said: “Although it is disappointing that SMEs can't always get hold of the external funding they need to thrive and grow, there are still alternatives out there such as invoice finance which can work just as well, if not better, than traditional business finance facilities”.