Almost half of small businesses are unaware of support initiatives available to them, new research has revealed.

According to a study by Axa Business Insurance, 49% of small business owners surveyed hadn’t heard of the government’s funding for lending, 53% hadn’t heard of the plans for the Business Bank while 71% had never heard of crowdsourcing or crowdfunding.

The survey also revealed that 25% of small business owners were unaware of a reduction in the rate of corporation tax and of those that were aware, only 13% could state the correct rate.

Those that were aware of government initiatives also displayed a lack of confidence in their effectiveness, with just 5% believing that the funding for lending scheme worked for businesses and only 9% confident that the new Business Bank would lend to small business owners.

Darrell Sansom, managing director of AXA Business Insurance said: “The numbers of small businesses in the UK continue to climb rapidly but it seems that many could be missing opportunities to help their business along the way through a lack of awareness of the support that may be available to them.”

Sansom also called on the government to promote these schemes more effectively. “We are also concerned that among those that are more aware, many are not seeing the benefit that they would want,” he said. “We are keen to see them grow and develop into bigger and healthier concerns so we would urge government to ensure that the various support schemes that have been created for SMEs receive the commensurate degree of promotion and awareness to support what is the heart of British business.”