Looking to start up a business in 2019 but need capital? Find out about the alternative finance options you weren’t aware of
This might be as little as a few thousand to buy vital equipment or it may run into six figures for tech or manufacturing start-ups or growing businesses.
Either way the banks are often the first port of call for many. And for some that can be where the journey ends if the traditional lenders aren’t willing to provide the finance.
Traditional lenders have been risk-averse for almost a decade and even today, as banks demonstrate more willingness to support new and growing companies, the average loan size and speed of draw down often can’t keep pace with the needs of a new business, especially those operating in the tech sector.
The rise of alternative lenders over recent years has opened the door to a whole new world of lending for ambitious businesses, helping thousands of new companies start up and grow.
Some forms of alternative finance – invoice financing, asset-based lending and equity based crowd-funding for example - have long since entered the mainstream. But initiatives being put in place by the Northern Powerhouse, LEPs, Growth Hubs and partnership programmes across the North West are reshaping and reinvigorating the growth potential and options of our ambitious businesses.
The result? A flexible range of finance products that is helping thousands of businesses who have been turned down by the banks and are delivering jobs and revenue that would otherwise simply not exist.
For start-ups, the benefits of alternative finance products can range from various free services mentoring, banking and office use to the more obvious such as the lower rates of interest that government backed programmes like Start Up Loans can offer.
Larger companies will usually be looking for more guidance and input as well as finance which is where programmes like the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) become a more attractive offer. NPIF provides microloans, debt and equity investments, ranging from £25,000 to £2m to help small and medium sized businesses to start up, scale up or stay ahead, with expert business planning, support and reviews built into the life of the loan. Securing the finance is the first step; making sure it is being put to best use to ensure the growth of the business is the next.
Services like GC Angels are aimed at early stage, high growth innovative businesses that need between £25k and £2m to develop and research their products and services and grow to the next level. The GC Angels service is designed not only to deliver vital funding but also to build capacity in the investment market and to increase access to deals for investors, with finance coming from syndicates of sector specific business angels.
Through these services and more The Growth Company is working to close the ‘finance gap’ to ensure that businesses have access to the finance they need to start or grow through GC Business Finance and GC Angels, as well as wider services allowing access to the support required to start-up, grow and ensure that financing is used to maximise their potential through the Business Growth Hub.