Demand for finance on rise, say most firms in Northern Ireland
Four fifths of businesses in Northern Ireland believe demand for finance is increasing, a snap poll has suggested.
More than 100 delegates were quizzed at the Funding Conference in Belfast.
And 80% felt that the demand for business finance was increasing in Northern Ireland, while 66% felt the supply of finance to local businesses was increasing.
The event, organised by Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, also found that nine out of 10 people weren't familiar with other funding streams, aside from traditional banking.
That includes crowd funding and venture capital.
In keeping with similar trends elsewhere in the business community, 82% of those quizzed said the UK should stay within the European Union.
And on corporation tax, two thirds said it would make a "significant" positive difference, with a quarter believing it would make a "marginal" positive difference.
Speaking at the event, Patrick Gallen, chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, said he was "pleased that the overall picture for business funding has improved a great deal in the last year".
"The economic recovery still has some significant way to go, and business finance for growth has a vital role to play. The funding landscape is particularly dynamic and quickly developing at the moment, but our members certainly feel that awareness of alternative and non-traditional sources of funding is low.
"Our aim is to provide an accurate picture of the funding landscape and to help local companies find the funding and support they need to grow and succeed."
And Danske Bank's deputy chief executive Kevin Kingston said the funding landscape has "significantly improved" in the last 12 to 18 months.
"Business confidence has improved, banks are lending and an ecosystem of alternative finance providers has developed. We now have the capacity to build strong financial structures for those companies who have the ambition, and the desire to grow."
"We have some fantastic companies out there and many small and medium sized businesses who could become global leaders with the right financial support, market advice and ambition."