The banks may be closed for business but, thanks to the emerging alternative finance market, business won’t be short of funding options, according to North West based finance expert, Peter Black.
Black, managing director of Snowball Alternative Finance, supports those businesses looking to gain investment from alternatives to high street banks and has already raised in excess of £1.5 billion for UK businesses.
Following the credit crunch, finance from mainstream organisations has become increasingly difficult to obtain. Many banks are still in recovery mode, concentrating on regulations rather than investment in entrepreneurs. Trust is low, choice is limited. This, combined with uncertainty over the future economy means the high street is no longer the first choice for funding with those in the know.
Black reports that a vast number of alternative finance providers are coming to the fore. For many people ‘alternative finance’ is crowd funding as that particular route has been the most talked about. But there is so much more, including unsecured loans, EIS funds, asset-based lending, trade finance and growth funds, as well as providers of bespoke facilities to meet specific business and property needs. Outside of the main banks, businesses have access to more than 250 funding providers who are experienced, independent, regulated – and many with healthier balance sheets than the banks!
Black explains: “We are meeting some amazing entrepreneurs with exciting businesses, some established and some new. What they all share in common is a desire to grow their business. It’s great that with alternative finance options we can make this happen.
“And deals can happen quickly – one of the biggest benefits of using an alternative funder is the speed in which the finance is agreed with deals done in days rather than weeks.
“That’s not to say that we won’t work with the banks – we do – but only one out of our current 30 funding deals is with a bank. That tells you all you need to know about how the funding landscape has changed.”
Black is keen to point to some of the companies that have used alternative funding to grow their business. These include the craft brewery BrewDog, who through crowd funding has grown to a company value of over a billion. North West children’s nursery group Kids Allowed received a £9.5m funding package using the ‘Challenger Bank’ method to take the business back into family ownership and allow them to open more nurseries.
“It’s a matter of educating businesses to make them aware of the products and helping them gain an understanding of the options open to them,” adds Peter.