Majority of SMEs considering alternative finance to raise capital funding

Half of mid-market businesses also feel alternative finance has opened up new opportunities for funding.

More than two-thirds (68%) of UK SMEs would consider alternative finance as a way to raise capital, according to a survey by the UK Bond Network.

The poll of 250 mid-market businesses also suggests that exactly half of SMEs see alternative finance as creating new opportunities for funding.

The appetite for alternative finance increases significantly among business with an annual turnover of more than £1.1 million. Among this group 94% of companies say they would consider using the funding route to raise capital.

Awareness of alternative finance as a funding route is also higher among this group. Almost half (42%) of businesses beneath this threshold are unaware of the options available to them – compared to 15% of the higher-revenue interests.

In 2014 peer-to-business finance topped £1 billion for the first time. UK Bond Network CEO and founder Chris Maule told Growth Business the alternative finance space is becoming increasingly important for the “under—serviced” mid-market sector.

>See also: Mind the SME funding gap

“Before it was the smaller companies who were seen as under-serviced and under-funded, but there seems to have been a shift now,” he explained. “Arguably they’re now over-serviced, with lots of alternative financiers concentrating on the smaller transactions.”

This presents an opportunity for firms funding companies “looking for a couple of million pounds,” according to Maule.

“There is an issue with the traditional finance providers such as the big banks. It’s not so much that they are likely to say no, but they are incredibly slow at coming to decisions.”

Many mid-market businesses may have a historic relationship with the UK banks, which can be a double-edged sword when dealing with new applications.

“Often when the banks aren’t in the position to provide funding they are reluctant to say so straight away or manage expectations because they fear damaging that relationship they have,” Maule said.

All of this has seen alternative finance “moving to the mainstream”, according to Maule.

“It’s providing small and medium sized enterprises with new funding options and democratising the business financing landscape. In contrast to banks, alternative finance platforms offer business borrowers fast, flexible and simple access to finance – making them an attractive and increasingly popular choice,” he concluded.

Further reading on funding: 15 ways to raise £1m

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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