The traditional way for many businesses to access finance has been the high street bank. But times have changed and it is now no longer the only option for many company owners seeking funding.
According to the NESTA 2014 Understanding Alternative Finance report the alternative finance market has doubled year on year from £267 million in 2012 to £666 million in 2013 to £1.74 billion in 2014. In that time it has helped countless entrepreneurs and SMEs to obtain finance to set up and build their businesses, creating employment and economic growth with funding that they may well not have been able to access otherwise.
So what are the main forms of alternative finance open to entrepreneurs? We offer a range of options, delivering between £500 and £2m investment, for start ups, small businesses and fast growing companies. Start Up Loans are the perfect choice for new businesses having already helped launch over 1200 businesses in the North West since 2012.
Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending play a key part in the growth of the alternative finance sector and there are a number of platforms now in operation to enable individuals to invest in the success of a new business.
One of the fastest growing sectors in the UK is business angel investment. We launched Co Angel Investment last year to take this to the next level by bringing investors together in syndicates to enable and encourage wider investment in a range of fast growing businesses.
And it is not only about the finance of course. Today’s investors and support hubs also offer mentoring, business planning and general growth support. After all, finance is only one part of what a business needs to grow.
Most importantly alternative finance is not an ‘us and them’ proposition. Today the banks and traditional lenders are working hand in hand with organisations like ours in unique public private partnerships to ensure that businesses receive the best funding option for their future.