Simon Allport, North West senior partner at Ernst & Young and Non-Executive Chairman of Business Finance Solutions gives his insight into alternative business finance and why you shouldn't give up hope when you hit a brick wall with traditional sources of finance.
You’re a fast growing business, but you can’t get the funds you need to take you on the next leg of your journey. You’re a start up or a young company that has big ideas, big plans and a big future; but you haven’t got a proven track record or strong enough credentials yet, to compel traditional sources of finance to lend. So do you go stale, retreat or even falter? Tough times have driven the banks to become more cautious when it comes to lending, which has left a gap in the market. A gap that I hope Business Finance Solutions (BFS) can help to fill. I’ve recently been appointed Non-Executive Chairman of BFS - a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation, which works in partnership with Greater Manchester Local Authorities and the Chamber of Commerce. It provides a range of Government backed finance products including, Business Loans and Angel Finance. When I talked about my new role in the market, the response I was initially greeted with was one of confusion about what we do.
So, let’s make it simple. If you have hit a brick wall when trying to access finance, but have a strong business plan, we would like you to think of BFS as an alternative - an alternative to traditional sources of finance, and I emphasise an ‘alternative’, not a replacement.
BFS fills a funding gap for small businesses, which may have maxed out their facility, may not have a track record, or may not meet the lending criteria. The intention is to work hand in hand with the banks to help young businesses survive and prosper. When the time is right, those companies can then move into traditional, mainstream funding.
Born in Manchester, BFS is testament to the strength of the business community in the City. It’s a great example of public and private sectors working together to help drive growth in the region, supporting the next generation of companies. Not only does BFS provide finance, but, through the Growth Hub, it provides guidance and mentorship to small businesses, from lawyers to bankers and accountants.
SME’s will play a major role in the revival of the UK economy, creating wealth and jobs. Supporting them early on could provide the lift they need to become our very own, North West business leader, Fred Done of Betfred! Fred started in 1967 with just one shop and now oversees a retail estate of over 1350 shops. The newly enlarged Betfred Group, employees more than 10,000 people in the UK.
More information about the services provided by Business Finance Solutions can be found on their Hub partner page