Alternative Funding - A Guide for UK Business

Peer-to-business Loans

It's complicated! Well, obtaining funding for your business from somewhere else other than the major banks, can be. This guide summarises the major alternative funding sources currently on offer to UK SMEs, with contact details for leading providers in each category. View the YesGrowth Alternative Funding Guide here 

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Zopa' 2015 - A year In Review.

Peer-to-business Loans

2015 was a record-breaking year for Zopa. We won awards, broke UK peer-to-peer lending records and explored new ways for peer-to-peer lending to reach more consumers.

Here are some of our 2015 highlights, or take a look at our 2015 infographic:

Breaking UK peer-to-peer records

This year Zopa has smashed through a number of UK peer-to-peer lending milestones.

The big one, which was covered widely in the media, came in August when we became the first UK peer-to-peer platform to lend its billionth pound. You can delve into the figures behind Zopa’s first billion in our infographic.

We also set monthly records for UK P2P lending. In July we became the first platform to lend £5...

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'You can trust me, I'm not a banker': Peer-to-peer lenders are part of the Establishment - as the OBE for Zopa co-founder Giles Andrews proves

Peer-to-business Loans

Once upon a time the New Year honours saw a slew of bankers collecting gongs. These days things are different – in 2016 it is the so-called ‘alternative financiers’ who seem to have been the winners.

Among them is Giles Andrews (now OBE), co-founder and executive chairman of Zopa. The pioneering group has overseen £1.2billion worth of lending to individuals an...

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BBB to Lend to SMEs Through RateSetter

Peer-to-business Loans

The British Business Bank (BBB) is buying into RateSetter’s rapidly scaling SME lending programme.

The BBB first began pumping money through the RateSetter platform in July 2014, with the express purpose of providing funding to sole traders. £10m was then to be put to work, which would comprise 40% of any qualifying loan until £4m of the money was used up, after which point the remaining funds would make up 20% of all qualifying loans.

What classes as “qualifying” now includes SME loans. RateSetter recently revealed that a whopping 40% of its outstanding loans belong to businesses of some description. That’s £180m of RateSetter money that has...

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Funding Circle Builds Further Alliances

Peer-to-business Loans

Funding Circle have formed a further two partnerships with local councils in its continued attempt to boost lending to small businesses.

Two Suffolk councils, Babergh and Mid Suffolk, are the latest boroughs to join forces with the peer-to-peer business lender.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils will each invest an unprecedented £1m each through Funding Circle and will lend in tranches of £100k each, with roughly half going to help local business across Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Both councils will use the returns to protect local public services.

According to Babergh Council Leader Cllr. Jennie Jenkins,

“This investment highlights ou...

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Crowd2Fund Launch First UK Marketplace for Trading Crowdfunded Investments

Peer-to-business Loans

The multi-product alternative finance provider Crowd2fund is to give investors the opportunity to sell their investments and gain early access to their capital.

The latest product named ‘The Exchange’ will not only give the current investors a chance to cash out early but also gives new buyers a chance to pick up discounted investments.

To begin with only debt investments will be tradable, Crowd2Fund plan to open up the marketplace to all investors wishing to buy or sell both debt or equity investments, regardless of where the investment was ma...

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Lead Sponsor Found for Money&Co. Event

Peer-to-business Loans

Money & Co. yesterday announced their lead sponsor for their up and coming event.

Law firm ‘Cubism Law’ is to sponsor the day long conference alongside crowdfunding intelligence platform ‘Another Crowd’.

The event named “Alternative Funding: New Solutions to Old Problems is to be held at the RAC club in London’s Pall Mal on 12th October and will explore how it is possible to:

Survey alternative finance, invluding crowdfunding, examine seed and mezzanine equity capital, loan credit and other products from diverse sources.Maximise the funding opportunites of alternative finance and crowdfundingProvide a balanced portfolio of high-yield debt and r... Read more »

New Barbers Loan Auction Is No Small Beer

Peer-to-business Loans

As one auction closes, another opens.

Yesterday saw an exciting close to the SBS B-rated loan. A flurry of bids knocked out the more expensive offers, and the service-provider now has a £250,000 loan at a gross yield of 10.4 per cent.

Today sees the unveiling of a new offer. Money&Co. lenders will be part of the financing of the purchase of a barbers shop in Wimbledon. Jacks of London (JOL) hit upon a brilliantly simple way of getting men into the shop – free beer! Some business models are difficult to understand. This one isn't: haircuts with a free beer thrown in.

The loan is A-rated and the borrower is seeking £188,500. At the t...

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Banks Offer SMEs Bad Funding Surprises

Peer-to-business Loans

Bad news is one thing, bad surprises are quite another - as many UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been discovering.

Accountants Brookson deliver a damning indictment of the banks' tendency to pull overdrafts from SMEs, leaving them chronically short of funds at crucial moments.

"According to financial comparison site Funding Options, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have made 741 complaints to the Financial Ombudsman over the past 12 months relating to the way banks have handled their overdrafts and loans.

"The top reason for these complaints is that a bank is believed to have unfairly withdrawn an agreed overdraft withou...

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New SME Fund Revealed

Peer-to-business Loans

As we all know banks have been under pressure to provide more funding for small businesses but looks like HSBC have stepped up to the mark.

The UK’s largest bank has launched a new £8 billion fund to help support small and medium sized businesses across the UK, targeting 43 areas of the country. Businesses in Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland will all get the opportunity to borrow from a fund worth £400 million.

Sam Roden, area director of Business Banking in Manchester, said: “Today we are announcing our largest ever package of support for SMEs in Manchester including a £400m fund for lending and a promotion designed to make it cheaper and simpler to access funding.

"Too often I hear cust...

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SMEs Give Bank Referral Scheme the Thumps Up

Peer-to-business Loans

The new bank referral scheme seems to be in favour with SMEs according to research conducted by alternative lender Liberis.

The new survey that quizzed 1000 people revealed that 85% believe the new scheme is the key to the future success of the small business sector.

The revenue-based finance platform also found out that 63% of respondents feel that it will lead to more businesses getting funding and 45% think it will create a more competitive SME funding marketplace.

The new scheme that looks set to come into place next year, is headed by the British Business Bank (BBB), is forcing ten of the top banks to refer SMEs to alternative fi...

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FundingKnight Helps to get New Products to Market

Peer-to-business Loans

A software development firm has successfully raised £75,000 through peer-to-business lender Funding Knight.

Red River Software had a number of different products that they wanted to bring to market to help other businesses but were unable to do so due to lack of funds.

Director Simon Pringle revealed that the company had gone to a number of high street banks but found out that they wanted a lot of collateral and this is the moment where Red River turned to alternative finance. After looking at a few different options they finally decided on Funding Knight.

Director, Pringle said:

“It is thanks to FundingK...

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Australasian Platform Crosses Over The Pond

Peer-to-business Loans

An Australasian supply chain finance company has entered the UK market to help SMEs fund their overseas purchases.

Scottish Pacific Business Finance who have offices in Australia, New Zealand and China will see their UK headquarters headed by Scottish Pacific Tradeline, a subsidiary of the company.

The supply chain finance firm has been providing working capital to SMEs since 1998 and the company’s move into the UK market is the first stage in globalising its trade offering. The initial focus will be on British companies that are sourcing products from overseas and it has funding lines exceeding $AU500m available to lend to SMEs.


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Funding Circle Investors Fund SMES Through Local Council

Peer-to-business Loans

A partnership between Lancashire County Council and Funding Circle has provided £1.5 million to 230 local businesses.

The scheme, the first of its kind, was set up two years ago to provide capital to small ands medium sized enterprises in the area and saw the council provide £350,000 while Funding Circle investors have funded the balance.

Natasha Jones of Funding Circle said:

“For some time now, small businesses have faced serious difficulty in accessing finance from traditional lenders. Lancashire County Council has recognised that Funding Circle can provide local businesses with a solut...

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Alternative Finance Opens New Doors For SMEs

Peer-to-business Loans

Over half of UK SMEs say that the alternative finance space has opened up new opportunities to raise finance according to some new research by the peer-to-peer bond auction platform UK Bond Network.

The survey also revealed that 68% would consider using alternative routes to raise capital – a figure that rises to 94% among companies with annual revenue over £1.1m.

“Alternative finance is moving into the mainstream,” says Christopher Maule, CEO and founder of UK Bond Network.

“It’s providing small and medium sized enterprises with new funding options and democratising the business financing landscape. In contrast to banks, al...

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Funding Circle Extend Finance Deal With Victory Park

Peer-to-business Loans

Peer-to-business lender Funding Circle has announced that Victory Park Capital, an asset management firm based in the US will finance £272 million in loans to small businesses in the UK and US over the next three years.

This new agreement will extend the current deal that both parties have and will allow Funding Circle to provide a much needed further injection of funding into the small business sector.

Since launching in 2010, Funding Circle has lent to over 8,000 small businesses and is currently lending £40 million a month in the UK. This figure is expected to double over the next 12 months thanks to this n...

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Funding Boost For Fleximize

Peer-to-business Loans

Fleximize has announced it has secured £5.5 million in funds from investors to provide to SMEs.

The alternative finance provider has never been scared about voicing its opinion about the current lending to SMEs and this raised finance will only boost confidence at the platform.

Last year the Fleximize responded negatively to the Autumn Statement by insisting that the money to the Government expend to lend in 2015 still isn’t enough.

The Treasury confirmed in December that it will guarantee up to £500 million of new bank lending as well as pledging £400 million to extend venture capital funds which invest in SMEs, called Enterprise Capital Funds.

Max Chmyshu...

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£1 Million Boost For South West SMEs

Peer-to-business Loans

A £1m fund has been made available for small businesses in the South West of England to take advantage of.

South West Investment Group (SWIG) is keen to continue providing money for SMEs in its area. The company has so far funded £5 million worth into 200 businesses in the South West since 2009.

The scheme called ‘Small Loans for business’ allows SMEs to apply for loans up to £50,000 as well as other finance that is available which can be used as part of a package of up to £100,000.

Businesses in the South West are definitely well supported when it comes to funding as peer-to-business lender Folk2Folk is also based in Cornwall and Devon.


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Five Predictions for 2015

Peer-to-business Loans

With 2014 now in the past we thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make some predictions for the New Year ahead.

2014 was a groundbreaking year for alternative finance and we believe that 2015 is going to be an even greater one, especially with the new bank referral scheme brought in by the government. Banks are to be forced to refer SMES to alternative finance providers if they refuse them a loan.

This scheme leads very nicely onto our first prediction for 2015 – ‘Awareness to increase’

Last year Liberum looked into awareness levels around the sector and there was one stat that stood out amongst the rest – 65% of UK adults still remain unaware of the existence of P2P lendin...

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New Research Confirms SME Funding Drought

Peer-to-business Loans

Yet more research has been undertaken in an effort to expose the funding shortages faced by UK SMEs.

According to the independent commercial finance broker – Hilton-Baird Financial Solutions – exactly half of the UK’s businesses deem the current level of funding support available to them to be insufficient. The annual SME Trends Index questions business owners and finance directors from across the country on all things funding related. We’ve summarized the key findings below:

27% of businesses say that the backing available from lenders and government is sufficient to their needs.16% had seen a funding application rejected within the past 12 months.Tha... Read more »