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Recovery loans of up to £10m available to businesses requiring support

Government-backed loans of up to £10 million are to be made available for companies that need support until the end of the year.

As announced in the Budget last month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has opened the Treasury’s Recovery Loan Scheme to tide businesses over, with past Covid-19 lending schemes due to run out.

From Tuesday April 6, the new finance initiative will replace the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and its larger sibling CLBILS.

As we safely reopen parts of our economy, our new Recovery Loan Scheme will ensure that businesses continue to have access to the finance they need as we move out of this crisis

Rishi Sunak, Chancellor

The Treasury has promised to cover 80% of what banks lend if businesses do not pay back their loans.

Mr Sunak said: “We have stopped at nothing to protect jobs and livelihoods throughout the pandemic and as the situation has evolved we have ensured that our support continues to meet businesses’ needs.

“As we safely reopen parts of our economy, our new Recovery Loan Scheme will ensure that businesses continue to have access to the finance they need as we move out of this crisis.”

Businesses will be able to access loans varying in size from £25,001, up to a maximum of £10 million.

Invoice and asset finance will be available from £1,000, according to the Treasury.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Business Loan requirements, please click here to get in touch

The new scheme, which runs until December 31, has the same Government guarantee as the CBILS and CLBILS, but is less generous than the 100% guarantee for the BBLS.

It will be administered by the British Business Bank, with loans available through a “diverse network of accredited commercial lenders”, officials said.

Businesses will be able to loan up to £10 million through the new recovery scheme (Victoria Jones/PA)
Interest rates have been capped at 14.99% and ministers are urging lenders to ensure they keep rates down in a bid to ensure business owners pay less than the ceiling figure.

The Recovery Loan Scheme is permitted for use as an additional loan on top of support received from the emergency schemes put into place last year.

Bounce back loans were first unveiled in late April last year and became available to businesses just days later in early May.

With the higher guarantee, and less rigorous controls from lenders, the bounce back loans have proven by far the most popular of the three schemes, both in terms of the number of loans granted and the total amount lent.

By February 21, more than 1.5 million businesses had been lent £45.6 billion in total, with another half a million having applied.

The BBLS was intended to quickly funnel cash from banks to small businesses, up to £50,000 each. The Government gave a 100% guarantee on the loans to ensure banks were not reluctant to lend.

The BBLS, CBILS, CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility have between them provided tens of billions of pounds in loans to UK businesses.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We’re doing everything we can to back businesses as we carefully reopen our economy and recover our way of life.

“The launch of our new Recovery Loan Scheme will provide businesses with a firm foundation on which to plan ahead, protect jobs and prepare for a safe reopening as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Source: Express & Star

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Government to back new business loans of up to £10m

The Government is to back business loans of up to £10 million for companies that need support until the end of the year as its Covid-19 lending schemes run out.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs he plans a new Recovery Loan Scheme to tide businesses over.

From April 6 it will replace the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and its larger sibling CLBILS.

The Treasury will promise to cover 80% of what banks lend if businesses do not pay back their loans.

Mr Sunak said: “Some businesses will also need loans to see them through. As the Bounce Back Loan and CBIL schemes come to an end, we’re introducing a new Recovery Loan Scheme to take their place.

“Businesses of any size can apply for loans from £25,000 up to £10 million, through to the end of this year.”

The new scheme has the same Government guarantee as CBILS and CLBILS, but is less generous than the 100% guarantee for BBLS.

Bounce back loans were first unveiled in late April last year and became available to businesses just days later in early May.

With the higher guarantee, and less rigorous controls from lenders, the bounce back loans have proven by far the most popular of the three schemes, both in terms of the number of loans granted and the total amount lent.

By February 21, more than 1.5 million businesses had been lent £45.6 billion in total, with another half a million having applied.

The BBLS was intended to quickly funnel cash from banks to small businesses, up to £50,000 each. The Government gave a 100% guarantee on the loans to ensure banks were not reluctant to lend.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Business Loan requirements, please click here to get in touch

BBLS, CBILS, CLBILS and the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility have between them provided tens of billions of pounds in UK business loans.

In September, Mr Sunak promised a new form of Covid loan scheme would be introduced at the beginning of the new year to replace the three Treasury-backed schemes. However this was later put on hold as infections and deaths soared, leading to more lockdown measures.

The Treasury also said it plans to give HM Revenue and Customs around £100 million to hire 1,265 new staff to combat fraud in the support packages, including the furlough and self-employment support schemes.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We hope the loan scheme will play an important role in addressing the cash flow challenges that many firms are facing.

“But it is vital that the aspirations of the Chancellor are met by action from commercial lenders to ensure that this all important finance reaches its destination quickly.”

Suren Thiru, the head of economics at the British Chamber of Commerce, said: “The acid test for the new scheme will be whether it is able to support the recovery by getting credit flowing to the firms who most need it.

“The scheme must be right from day one to ensure that businesses and banks can use it to help SMEs return to growth. Businesses will need an approach to operation of the new scheme that is clear, consistent and considerate to the impact of the pandemic on their financial position.”

Source: Shropshire Star

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SME lending hit £54bn in first three quarters of 2020

Gross lending to SMEs in the first three quarters of 2020 was more than double the annual total for 2019, reaching £54bn, according to data published by UK Finance.

The data, released as part of the quarterly Business Finance Review, shows that the value of lending in the second and third quarters was £36bn, higher than during the same period of 2019, driven by continued uptake of government-backed support.

Nationally, UK lenders have issued 229 Bounce Back Loans Scheme (BBLS) and ten Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) facilities for every thousand businesses.

Since the extension of government support from November 2020, UK Finance has estimated that £600m of funding has been made available through the topping-up of existing BBLS facilities.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Business Loan requirements, please click here to get in touch

Approval volumes exceeded 150,000 for construction and retail in the period, and 200,000 for the professional and support services sector. In previous quarters, all industries averaged fewer than 20,000 approvals.

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, said: “2020 was a challenging year with the disruption of Covid-19 restrictions and uncertainty ahead of the end of EU transition. The UK’s banking and finance industry continues to support businesses of all sizes across the country to help them trade and invest for recovery.

“Gross lending in the first three quarters of last year was more than double the annual total in 2019, boosted by over 1.5 million businesses borrowing with government-guaranteed facilities totalling over £68bn. SME financing was particularly in demand in the service industries, which were amongst the hardest hit by the pandemic.

“Approvals of overdraft facilities rose significantly at the start of last year but demand in the second and third quarters moved towards loans. SMEs can now ‘top-up’ their Bounce Back Loan to the maximum of £50,000 or 25 per cent of their turnover if lower, with the application deadline for the schemes now running until the end of March 2021. This extension and the wider support of the industry will help businesses access the finance they need as the pandemic continues to affect the economy.”

By Stephen Farrell

Source: Insider Media

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Banks and government support to UK firms tops £100bn

Struggling UK companies have now received more than £100bn worth of support from banks and the government through various coronavirus stimulus schemes, official figures have shown.

UK banks have lent out more than £58bn to hard-hit companies through the government-backed coronavirus loan schemes, according to Treasury figures out today.

HMRC figures showed that companies have claimed £39.3bn from the government through the furlough scheme. The programme has supported almost 10m workers.

The figures come as the government prepares to extend the loan schemes so that companies can apply for cash until the end of November.

It is a sign that the government thinks businesses will need more support over the autumn as coronavirus cases rise and new restrictions are imposed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has promised to be “creative” in helping workers and firms, although so far has resisted pressure to extend the furlough scheme.

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Business Loan requirements, please click here to get in touch

Bounce back loans hit £38bn

The vast majority – £38bn – of the bank lending has come through the bounce back loan scheme, under which the government guarantees 100 per cent of loans to small businesses. Banks have made 1.26m loans through the scheme.

Banks have lent out £15.5bn through the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS), the Treasury figures showed. It carries a government guarantee of 80 per cent. Just over £3.8bn had been lent through the coronavirus large business interruption loan scheme (CLBILS).

The HMRC figures also showed that the government had spent £13.4bn supporting self-employed people.

August’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme saw Britons eat more than 100m discounted meals in August. The scheme, which provided 50 per cent of meals, cost the government £522m.

As of yet it is unclear how much of the bank lending will end up being the government’s problem.

City groups have flagged that companies could be overwhelmed by debt taken on during coronavirus, and have called for help.

Stephen Pegge, head of commercial finance at banking body UK Finance, said that “the banking and finance industry has a clear plan” to help companies get “through these tough times”.

Yet he warned that “it is important to remember that any lending provided under government-backed schemes is a debt not a grant”. He added: “Firms should carefully consider their ability to repay before completing an application.”

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

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More lenders accredited under Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes

The British Business Bank has approved six more lenders for accreditation under its Coronavirus Business Loan Schemes.

The new Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) lenders are 365 Business Finance, FOLK2FOLK, Handelsbanken, LendingCrowd, Maxxia, and Nucleus Commercial Finance, who will be able to provide financial support to smaller businesses across the UK that are losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Close Brothers, ThinCats and HSBC Bank plc, a separate entity from the previously-accredited HSBC UK, have been accredited under the under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS). They will be able to provide finance to midsized and larger UK businesses with a group turnover of more than £45m (the upper limit for the existing smaller-business focused CBILS).

To find out more about how we can assist you with your Business Loan requirements, please click here to get in touch

Coutts and Arbuthnot Latham will join the other 21 Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) lenders who have been accredited since the scheme opened.

Keith Morgan, chief executive at British Business Bank, said: “Our accredited lenders continue to see high levels of demand for Covid-19 business loan schemes. Accrediting these additional finance providers means further support for smaller business customers and continues the British Business Bank’s long-term objective to offer more diverse sources of finance to smaller businesses.”

According to government-published statistics, more than one million businesses have to date benefitted from more than £42bn in loans and guarantees through the British Business Bank’ schemes.

By Stephen Farrell

Source: Insider Media

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Small business loans will “give hope to thousands”

New government loans announced for small businesses will “give hope to thousands” as they fight to survive the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

That is the view of the Federation of Small Businesses, who welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement of the micro loan scheme which provides loans of up to £25,000 with a 100 per cent government guarantee.

Making the announcement yesterday, the Chancellor said the bounce back loans – which are capped at 25 per cent of turnover and have a streamlined application process – will be available from Monday.

And FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said the announcement was vital for those firms not covered by the existing coronavirus loan scheme.

He said: “The decision by the Chancellor to listen to our recommendation will give hope to thousands.

“The headline terms will be hugely welcomed by the sole traders and micro businesses that make-up 95 per cent of the small business community.

“Removing the need to provide forecasts marks an important step forward – small firms cannot be expected to predict the future in this climate.”

Mr Cherry called on the government to ensure the delivery of the loans was administered correctly so help reached the right people in time. 

”From here, we need the right delivery,” he said. “The fast-track system must be established by next Monday with money delivered 24 hours after a successful application as promised.

“All those who have been declined a small Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme facility should now be written to with the offer to re-apply via this new system.

“Many small businesses have had to pay March and April’s payroll, on top of other overheads, with no revenue coming in at all. This announcement promises to change that fundamental lack of access to working capital.”

He continued: “In the long term, we need to protect the competition achieved in the small business lending market that so many have fought so hard to secure.

“At the end of this crisis, non-bank lenders are going to be key to economic recovery as part of a thriving small business finance market that does not just rely on the big five banks.

“Equally, the big banks must ensure they are in a position to facilitate a large a number of small business loans. Some of their systems are already creaking under the strain.”

The loan scheme was also welcomed by Business West, who represent the region’s Chambers of Commerce, but Gloucestershire director Ian Mean warned that the Chancellor’s statement to the House of Commons contained some less welcome news.

He said: “The good news will be very welcome by small businesses so worried about the delays experienced by many of them in applying for cash through the government’s much-heralded Coronavirus Business Intervention Loans Scheme.

“But there was good and grim news. The Chancellor told the Commons that ‘survey evidence suggests that a quarter of firms have stopped trading’.

“He made no amplification of that alarming figure – many of them might have just paused trading, but this figure must be of great concern for our economy.”

The new loan scheme is available for firms which existed on March 1 with money due to be in accounts around 24 hours after an application is approved.

Applications are short and can be submitted online from Monday with basic details to confirm a business is eligible with tax returns required in a small number of cases.

While the Government will cover interest and fees for the first 12 months, businesses will pay back the loan at what the Treasury describes as ‘very low’ interest rates over around five years.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor has dismissed calls from church leaders for companies that avoid UK taxes by routing profits through tax havens to be barred from receiving coronavirus support packages.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was among the senior clergy who called on the Government to follow Denmark, Poland and France in refusing to help companies registered in tax havens.

A spokesman for the Treasury said: “HMRC has robust tools to challenge businesses who avoid paying their fair share of tax.

“That is the right way to challenge avoidance, not by denying support to British workers who pay their taxes and would otherwise lose their jobs.”

By Rob Freeman

Source: Punchline Gloucester

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Government launches £330bn coronavirus business loan scheme

The government has launched the first stage of a £330bn loan guarantee scheme for businesses, to help small and medium-sized firms borrow up to £5m to help them weather the impact of coronavirus.

“Any viable business” with a turnover of up to £45m will be able to apply to banks for an 12-month interest-free loan, 80 per cent of which will be guaranteed by the government under its Business Interruption Scheme, the Treasury said.

“We know that businesses are in urgent need of access to funding during these unprecedented times,” said business secretary Alok Sharma, who added that the scheme “will ensure that credit keeps flowing to where it is needed, when it is needed”.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak last week unveiled an unprecedented package of measures aimed at supporting businesses and employers struggling with the economic impact of coronavirus, including tax deferrals and an employee retention scheme.

The Treasury said this morning that further measures would be announced to ensure large and medium-sized businesses could access financing.

The Bank of England this morning announced the opening of a scheme to buy up debt known as commercial paper, issued by large businesses which had an investment-grade credit rating or similar level of financial health before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

BoE governor Andrew Bailey said the corporate financing scheme would “help businesses manage through this period of uncertainty”.

“Combined with steps taken by the government, this will help companies through this difficult time and support the needs of the people of this country,” he added.

Bailey said last week that the Bank would look at widening the financing scheme to firms with lower credit quality, or buying other financial instruments such as asset-backed commercial paper.

By Anna Menin

Source: City AM

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Coronavirus eating into SME cash

Over two-thirds of UK SMEs (69%) have reported significant pressures on their cash levels according to latest insights from business lender MarketFinance. This is in large part down to businesses paying for supplies earlier than anticipated because of Coronavirus-related stockpiling and fears of deeper disruptions to transport (road, air and rail) linkages.

Additionally, on orders and work that has been completed, payments are being delayed. Three-quarters (74%) of business owners reported invoices due to be settled at the end of February have not been paid yet (as of 10th March 2020) and that these were unlikely to be settled before the end of March 2020.

Over a third (36%) of business owners feared they won’t survive to Easter (6 weeks) if they were unable to secure some finance to bolster their business. Meanwhile, as economic conditions worsen, and with the possibility of widespread quarantine implemented across parts of the country, businesses will need to have financial and operational contingency plans in place to protect jobs, industry and communities.

Anil Stocker, CEO at MarketFinance, commented: “The impact of the Coronavirus spread is being felt by SMES across the UK as finance and supply chains are disrupted. At the best of times, only around half of these businesses are cashflow positive. Today, businesses are feeling a palpable sense of helplessness and isolation and there is a lack of specific information on how to cope with the crisis.”

“At the moment cash is king and if businesses are being starved of this cash, it will leave them stranded. Whilst policy efforts play out to contain the spread of Coronavirus, business owners should brace themselves for some turbulence and have a prepared mindset for the scenarios ahead.”

“Rishi Sunak has a golden opportunity to prove that he is a champion of UK SMEs. There is a role for government to work with businesses, banks and other lenders to ensure a resilient economy. It will be the smallest businesses that are most hit as they have the least bargaining power in global supply chains. They could, for example, give businesses VAT / tax ‘holidays’ to ensure that they have enough money to cover immediate costs.”

Source: Business Money

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Businesses turn to alternative money trees as big bank lending stalls

Smaller businesses are turning to alternative ways of financing in much larger numbers than five years ago, as traditional lending flatlines, according to a new report.

Marketplace business lending, which used to be called peer-to-peer, is now providing more than £2 billion a year to British small and medium sized businesses (SMEs), the British Business Bank said.

It is a 374% rise since 2014, the year the bank was set up by the government.

Meanwhile equity finance, providing money in exchange for a stake, has jumped by 131% over the same period.

Since it was set up the Business Bank has provided support to success stories such as cybersecurity outfit Mimecast, and fintech firms Transferwise and Revolut.

Earlier this week Revolut announced it had raised another 500 million US dollars (£387 million), giving the business a valuation of around £4.3 billion.

But while alternative financing has boomed in the last five years, gross lending from major banks to smaller businesses has remained largely flat, growing just 1.2% in real terms.

Gross bank lending reached £56.7 billion last year.

In 2014 it was £53 billion.

Last year 52% of smaller businesses that wanted financing looked beyond the Big Five banks, according to the research.

There is evidence that the flatline in traditional lending is due to demand from businesses drying up, British Business Bank chief executive Keith Morgan told the PA news agency.

More than 70% of them say that they would be willing to forego some future growth rather than take more loans.

Mr Morgan said that small business confidence seems to have rebounded in recent months.

“We are seeing some indication that confidence has rebounded given the additional clarity that is now present with the outcome of the general election and the increased understanding of the course with respect to Europe,” Mr Morgan said.

However it is too early to say whether that will increase demand for finance, he added.

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Finance for small businesses is essential to our goal of making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.

“This report will shape our support for business leaders across the country, so they can drive innovation and growth.”

By August Graham

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

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Crowdfunding 101: How UK Businesses Can Use Crowdfunding As A Viable Alternative Finance Option

Over the last decade, many new types of alternative finance have emerged in the UK market. Some of these have built upon the traditional methods of funding a business, while others have quite successfully disrupted the market to a certain degree. Crowdfunding belongs to the latter category. Getting a group of individual investors to pitch in together to fund a business isn’t something new, but crowdfunding, with the help of available technology, has made it possible for thousands of people to back a product, a service or even just an idea in their personal capacity.

What Is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is exactly what it says it is. Up and coming businesses (especially the ones that find it tough to raise finance via traditional channels) share their ideas, business plans, product prototypes and everything else that is relevant on a crowdfunding platform and individual investors decide if or how much they want to contribute. The investors, in return, can get equity in the business, dividend from the revenue or royalty from each sale made, depending on the terms of contract. It sounds quite simple, because it is. The only decisive factor here is the merit of the idea being pitched.

The UK Crowdfunding Market

Crowdfunding, as we noted earlier, is exciting for both businesses and investors. However, these are still early years, and it would be unfair to compare crowdfunding with other finance/investment avenues such as business loans or commercial finance. It is estimated that from its inception in 2011 to 2018, crowdfunding has contributed over £600mn to UK businesses.

Is Crowdfunding The Right Choice For Your Business?

Not all businesses are built the same. Crowdfunding can, however, be extremely helpful in getting your business off the ground. Many young businesses and start-ups use crowdfunding just to get through the proof of concept phase (building a prototype, sending products out for testing, acquiring relevant licences and clearances, and so forth). Crowdfunding may be the right choice for your business if:
  • You only need small capital, but you need it fast,
  • Your products/ideas are relatable and solve real life problems,
  • You can’t raise money via other, more private finance options like personal loans, overdrafts and lines of credit.

Types Of Crowdfunding

Most crowdfunding pitches belong to one of the following types:

Equity Based Crowdfunding (Investment Crowdfunding)

This is, by far, the most important type of crowdfunding. As a business owner, you ask for and receive funding from investors who, in return, receive a proportionate stake in your business (in the form of equity). Equity based crowdfunding is ideal for businesses looking to raise a significant sum of money upfront. This is very similar to syndicated angel finance (please read through our guide to angel finance to learn more).

Equity Crowdfunding And Tax Reliefs

Equity based investments in qualifying businesses are eligible to receive tax reliefs (as applicable) under the EIS and SEIS.

Credit Based Crowdfunding

Credit/loan-based crowdfunding is nothing but peer-to-peer finance (P2P finance). Contributors here act as private lenders who lend you money upfront via the crowdfunding platform you choose. You are then required to repay the crowdfunding platform at a pre-set interest rate. This is a good alternative finance option for businesses that don’t want to part with equity.

Reward Based Crowdfunding

Reward based crowdfunding allows you – as the borrowing business – to reward contributors in a variety of ways. The most common reward is early access to your products/services.

Donations/Charity Based Crowdfunding

Not all businesses can afford to pay their contributors back. Social enterprises can raise money in the form of donations/charity and use it to fund their business goals.

How Does Crowdfunding Work?

Crowdfunding platforms play an important role here. There are dozens of crowdfunding platforms presently operational in the UK. Seedrs and Crowdcube are two prominent examples. Once you know what type of crowdfunding you want to go for, you will need to make public a few important details about your business.
  1. What you’re offering in terms of products/services
  2. How they make a difference
  3. If you have any intellectually protected assets
  4. How much you want to raise
  5. How much you’ve already raised from other means
  6. How you plan on using the funds raised
  7. What the timeline of progress will be
  8. What you’re offering in return

Is Crowdfunding Regulated In The UK?

Most crowdfunding activities in the UK are now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Loan-based crowdfunding and investment/equity-based crowdfunding are regulated heavily considering the risks involved. The FCA also regulates crowdfunding platforms in line with their policies.

Things To Avoid While Preparing Your Crowdfunding Pitch

As things stand today, there’s no way really for us to tell what percentage of crowdfunding pitches manage to meet their goals. We do, however, have observed a few key trends that seem to be common denominators among campaigns that fail. Here are the things that you may want to avoid while preparing your crowdfunding pitch:

Confusion And Chaos

This is probably the biggest red flag for any investor. When you prepare your pitch, you need to be as sure as you can about what you’re pitching. Your pitch needs to speak to the investor and answer their questions before they have the chance to even ask them.

Bad Ideas

There’s no way you can sell a bad idea to people and hope to succeed. Paying enough attention to whether the idea is viable, profitable and scalable should be at the centre of your considerations.

Bad Valuation

Many start-ups and young businesses tend to overvalue their ventures. It helps if you bring on board experienced professionals who can evaluate your business for you without any bias. A reasonable evaluation means that potential investors can see how it makes sense to invest.

Crowdfunding Alternatives – Have You Considered These?

Raising money on your own – through personal finance and from your friends/family – is usually the safest bet when dealing with small amounts. However, if you want your business to really take off, you need to take commercial finance more seriously. There are quite a few commercial finance solutions available in the market that, when utilised properly, can prove to be much more affordable and much less tricky than crowdfunding.

Business Loans

Raise money as and when you need it and use it towards the business expense of your choice – from fulfilling purchase orders to settling existing loans.

Asset Finance

Finance the purchase/lease of expensive equipment through fast, affordable and easy asset finance.

Angel Finance

Bring experienced investors on board and benefit from their expertise and industry connections.

Specialty Loans

Use specialty loans like HMO finance, development finance, bridging loans, BTL mortgages and more to raise money from specialist lenders at low interest rates. Commercial Finance Network, a leading whole of market broker in the UK, makes it easy for you to match with UK-wide lenders. Every commercial finance application we receive is decided upon within 24 hours – that’s our promise! To know more or to request a call back, call us on 03303 112 646. You can also fill in this short online form to get started.