Alternative sources of finance come in a myriad of forms these days. Since bank lending to SMEs collapsed after the financial crisis, a multitude of alternatives have sprung up – from peer-to-peer lending, to invoice financing and crowdfunding. While this offers a lot more choice to business owners and FDs, the range of options available can be a little bewildering. That’s why Nick Montague created FundingStore, which connects SMEs with a wide range of lending options. He says: “A major reason so many businesses struggle to find funding is that there are too many options and often very little clear information about what lenders and investors are willing to fund. This confuses small businesses and funders miss perfectly good opportunities.” The idea for funding store came about as a way to make small businesses aware of all the options open to them. “There was no one place where people could look and make connections,” Montague adds. The process is pretty straightforward. FundingStore’s website asks you how much funding you need, what the funding is for and some other questions about your business. In this respect it seems similar to a comparison website for business finance. The firm has recently added Funding Circle, a platform for peer-to-peer lending, to its ranks of lenders. Peer-to-peer is an increasingly popular source of finance, as savers put off by low interest rates on savings accounts look for ways to grow their money faster. A recent Which? survey found that nine per cent of savers have used P2P lending, an increase from two per cent a year ago. As well as peer-to-peer, FundingStore has a myriad of other options to explore, from traditional options like bank loans and private equity, to crowd-funding and government schemes. Montague continues: “The main point that I want to get across is that our objective is to help businesses. We are completely independent and we want to work with these businesses to help them succeed.” Image source
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