How to get the funding you need to grow your business » SMEInsider

How to get the funding you need to grow your business

With traditional loans in decline and public trust in high street banks haemorrhaging after a series of high-profile exposés, many SMEs feel that it’s time to look elsewhere for the cash they need to expand.

The alternative funding market has boomed over the past year – so much so, in fact, that industry insiders say that the name itself is practically redundant, since “alternative” options are fast becoming part of the mainstream.

Peer-to-peer lending and corporate crowdfunding platforms such as Crowdcube and Platform Black are helping to match exciting new companies up directly with willing investors, while banks such as RBS have actually begun to point those that they turn down for loans in the direction of Funding Circle and Assetz Capital, in the hope that these alternatives may offer more chance of success.

Meanwhile, the coalition has recognised the £1bn “lending gap” left by the decline of bank support for SMEs, pledging to commit millions of pounds to a pilot scheme that, they say, would help to transform the SME sector into something resembling Germany’s thriving Mittelstand.

This follows the popularity of the government’s Growth Vouchers scheme, which seeks to reward small businesses that invest in their own development by matching funds spent on business advice, technology and other strategic developments.

In fact, the rising tide of time-saving and business-enhancing technologies is seen by many companies a as a viable alternative to costly operational expansion that are backed by bank loans or other sources of funding. This week, we’ll be looking at many of these intriguing new technologies, including some of those unveiled at last week’s Finovate Europe and World Bank fintech events, to see how they can be used to help a business grow and improve.

We’ll also explore smart ways for smaller businesses to approach issues like funding, allocating funds and planning their expansion.

As always, we’d love to hear your views and insights, too. Please join the conversation by tweeting us at @SMEInsider with the hashtag #GrowFunding.