Perhaps the most pressing issue facing all small businesses around the world is access to finance. Start-up businesses and more established growth businesses account for 60% of the jobs in this country. They power 51% of the UK GDP – as well as acting as a driving force for innovation, disruptive business solutions and efficiency gains.
Recent turmoil in the global financial markets over the last five years drastically altered the landscape. The status quo is now being challenged and a revolution is occurring in how businesses think about funding in the future.
There’s a lot of jargon out there – Project Merlin, quantitative easing, credit easing, enterprise finance guarantees – and the popular media over and under-exaggerates the real state of affairs.
It’s probably fair to say that you entrepreneurs can be bamboozled as to what are the real ways to ensure that finance is on hand to pay your bills day-to-day, keep your suppliers happy, start a new product line, start a new business, employ better staff and ultimately create value.
The Next Generation Finance Consortium is the UK’s first organisation to help entrepreneurs make sense of the fundamental changes occurring within small business finance. The founding members represent both traditional and also new, disruptive ways of funding your business. We have three main goals:
We aim to help business owners and entrepreneurs understand where they can source capital from and on the best terms.
We aim to promote new, innovative funding platforms that are emerging and can be viewed as game-changing, as well as complementary to more traditional bank products.
There is no silver bullet. While one funding platform might work for some of you, different companies need different solutions at different stages in their life cycle. All of our founding members are committed to helping you find the best option available.
We’re going to be putting a lot of resource on our website. We’re going to be holding monthly events for entrepreneurs and business owners. We’re going to be offering advice. We’re going to be liaising with government bodies and other trade organisations for support on key issues and business finance.
One thing we unanimously agree is it’s time to move on from the bank bashing. It’s all too easy to sit around and criticise and not put forward any solution.
The companies in the Consortium represent the change we want to see in the industry. I think we are right at the beginning of a huge structural change that is occurring in British small business finance. As Bob Dylan once famously sang: “The times, they are a changing.”
Anil Stocker is co-founder of online invoice marketplace MarketInvoice . He was speaking at the launch of the Next Generation Finance Consortium – a new initiative co-founded by MarketInvoice, Crowdcube, Peoplefund.it, Capital Enterprise, British Business Angel Association, Community Development Finance Association, London Business Angels and North London Community Finance.
The Next Generation Finance Consortium (NGFC) will be running a free workshop for early stage entrepreneurs looking to raise substantial seed investment, on April 6. For more information visit the NGFC website and follow the Consortium on Twitter at @The_NGFC