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General election 2015: Liberis CEO Paul Mildenstein – I’m voting as…

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The Real Business “I’m voting as…” series of features has thrown up some fascinating suggestions for the nest British government to take on, and our latest business leader profile is no different.

Who are you and what does your business do?

My name is Paul Mildenstein and I’m CEO of Liberis. We provide a product called business cash advance, or revenue-based finance to small businesses. 

As a small business ourselves, we understand the pain points. We were the first to market with the business cash advance product in 2007 and today it remains the only funding product to offer a repayment mechanism that directly mirrors the customer’s business performance. We agree a set fee for the finance and customers pay back a small percentage of each card transaction, at source. It’s unsecured finance offering businesses a low risk funding option without the concerns of end of month instalments.

How has your business changed over the last five years?

In the last five years, we have provided cash advances totalling more than £70m, and have driven a business growth rate of 248 per cent. In 2014 alone, we provided nearly £20m in finance to this market. We completed a successful MBO in October 2013 and have since invested heavily in people, technology and infrastructure to deliver our vision to be the go-to solution for SMEs who require convenient business funding. 

The increase in demand for our product and a 70 per cent renewal rate demonstrates an inherent need, and gap in the market, for this type of funding.

What are your growth plans for the next five years?

We intend to do more of the same, and better, always keeping relevant for our customers, refining our business cash advance product and developing new products to meet demand. We expect to double the business year-on-year through lead generation, excellent customer service and mutually beneficial partnerships. 

We’ll continue to invest profits back into the proposition, technology and the brand with the intention of making it easier and faster for SMEs to get finance. We also aim to move from being considered alternative finance and be seen as a mainstream funder for SMEs.

What kind of government would you like to see elected?

One that is decisive, accountable, fair and firm and genuinely champions small business owners, with effective policy implementation

I’d like to see greater incentives for startups, a more streamlined business support system, a fairer tax system and encouragement for small businesses to provide a living wage. Access to finance still has to be made easier and a new government must take a role in promoting and educating business owners on alternative sources, and there must be proper regulation and governance which is sector wide.

Read other “I’m voting as…” pieces:

Do you think government in general is doing enough to support businesses of your size?

Generally yes, but it felt like a late start with the focus in the early years on propping up the banks. A great deal has been crammed into the last couple of years and there’s now some momentum that will bring about helpful and practical change that small businesses will benefit from. But there’s much more to do and continuity of what has been achieved to date is crucial and must not be slowed down or derailed by a new administration.

Has the impending general election caused any uncertainty regarding how you run your company?

Not for us, thankfully. All parties are keen to get the small business vote so there are plenty of promises being offered. A hung parliament outcome however will create political uncertainty which could impact on SME policy decisions and effective implementation. We will continue to move forward in line with our vision – the greater good of funding SME’s keeps us pretty focussed. 

In one sentence, please finish this line: “I’m voting as…”

I’m voting as a champion of small businesses because this sector has to power forward and be successful to fuel our economic recovery.  

Do you agree with Paul Mildenstein? Is there anything you’d like to add? Please let us know in the comments box below.

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