With thousands of British start-ups and SMEs turning to online platforms to raise finance, a coalition of major UK business organisations have launched a new digital guide on different sources of investment and professional advice. Led by ICAEW and the British Business Bank, 23 bodies have contributed to the new Business Finance Guide – a journey from start-up to growth. They aim to reach the inbox of one million businesses of all sizes in the UK.
thebusinessfinanceguide.co.uk builds on the success of a 2014 version that reached three quarters of a million companies, entrepreneurs, investors and advisers.
How businesses seek finance today:
·SMEs are still most likely to go only to their main bank when seeking finance, despite a steady increase in alternatives. Three out of five SMEs only contact one provider when seeking finance.
·Recent research by Amicus Finance showed increasing frustration amongst SMEs with high-street banks, with 16 per cent of 400 SME business owners turned down by a mainstream lender, up from 11 per cent in 2015.
·31 per cent said their inability to secure finance terms with traditional lenders has led to a lost deal or investment opportunity.
·But the use of equity finance is on the rise. Research by the British Business Bank shows that 2015 was a strong year, with deals numbers increasing by 5% from 2014 to 1,270 and total investment value increasing by 58% to £3.5bn.
Commenting on the guide, Michael Izza, Chief Executive, ICAEW said: “Businesses need certainty and that also applies to when they are raising finance. We want businesses to come out of the dark and have their most powerful tool to grow – information and advice. With businesses expected to grow investment by 2.3%* in the next 12 months, getting the right advice is crucial especially as the landscape and sources of finances has changed so significantly. The guide, which has already reached over 750,000 entrepreneurs, enables businesses and their advisors to find out more about the options available to them to meet their specific needs.”
Keith Morgan, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, said: “A growing number of finance options have become more established, mainstream and accessible to smaller businesses over recent years, and building their awareness and understanding of those options is a key aim for the British Business Bank.
“That’s why we are delighted to be publishing this new edition of the Business Finance Guide, both in hardcopy and digital versions. We view it as an essential starting point for businesses in finding the most suitable finance for their circumstances and plans to enable them to grow and thrive.”
The guide focuses on the market as a whole, offering tools and guidance to help businesses weigh-up their options, make decisions and plan how they will finance expansion.
It features video content from finance experts on how to seek different types of finance. Businesses are encouraged to seek professional advice appropriate for their size, type, structure and corporate finance requirements.
* ICAEW Q2 2016 Business Confidence Monitor