No business could survive on its own without friends and allies. To be successful, businesses need to develop relationships with other organisations and to draw on the support and services they provide. The successful business will develop healthy relationships with suppliers, partners and providers of finance.
In this case study, we look at a very important relationship for an increasing number of small and medium sized businesses in this country - the one that they build up with investors. In particular, we focus on the role of 3i Group, the leading specialist investor in unquoted companies in the UK.
The role of investors is of crucial importance to the UK economy. In the past, countries like Japan and the United States led the field in providing support for the growth and development of the small and medium sized business sector. Today, the UK is rapidly catching up in this sphere. By the end of the 1980s, for example, there were over 100 member companies making up the British Venture Capital Association.
Recognising the needs of small and medium sized companies
Today it is widely recognised that small and medium sized companies play a vital role in the well-being of a modern economy. They create many of the new ideas that provide the driving force for prosperity and growth. Some will one day become the major blue chip companies at the centre of the economy. They are increasingly important employers, as larger organisations downsize in modern markets, where the emphasis is on flexibility. They also provide us with many of the goods and services which make it possible for us to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.