Entrepreneurs with good ideas or growing businesses that need funding may not realise that there is an abundance of cash out there. The banks may still be proving challenging, but they only represent one brick in a massive wall of opportunity for purposeful and determined entrepreneurs.
At the early, early stage, friends and family and business angels will be the main source of funding, but there are organisations, such as that run by Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital, the technology specialists, which pride themselves on getting involved. You may also want to take a look at Fredericks Foundation, a charity that helps with business support and micro- loan funding for start ups and small businesses.
At the growth stage, angels may still be an option but organisations like Hotbed, Pi Capital, NESTA and The Technology Strategy Board can provide access to a mixture of equity and debt capital to help you grow your business. Asset-based lenders, offering invoice and other finance can be found through the Asset Based Finance Association. And don’t forget about the possibility of grants from regional development agencies like SEEDA.
For more established businesses that are bumping into lending limits or struggling to raise development capital, there may be relief through VCTs or Private Equity. I like the Government-inspired Capital for Enterprise funds, providing up to £2m to profitable, well-managed businesses. They have £75 million to spend by 31st March 2010.
The opportunities are endless so don’t get frozen in the headlights. With a good strategy, capable management and a well thought out business plan, there’s simply nothing to stop you.