Improve SME understanding
of finance options

Delivered: Better information on finance options,
contributing to an increased awareness of
finance options amongst SMEs.

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Objective 3

Improve SME understanding
of finance options

Delivered: Better information on finance options,
contributing to an increased awareness of
finance options amongst SMEs.

Why it is important: When we make better information available to smaller businesses, we help them make better choices about finance. Being more aware of and having more confidence in their options means they are more likely to invest in their business.

Successfully delivering our first two objectives – increasing and diversifying finance sources – helps us improve the supply side of finance markets for smaller businesses. Improving the demand side requires increased levels of awareness and understanding to enable small businesses to make informed choices.

We measure awareness of different finance options through our annual survey, looking at the average awareness amongst SMEs across six different finance products. This was 50% in our November 2016 survey, a 2% improvement from the previous year.

To help raise awareness of finance options, we publish our Business Finance Guide jointly with the Institute of Chartered Accountants Corporate Finance Facility in England and Wales (ICAEW) with contributions from a further 21 partner organisations. The guide is well received amongst small businesses and their advisors, and its value was underscored in the BEIS Select Committee’s October 2016 Access to Finance report.

In June 2016 we were delighted to launch the online version of the guide, offering users the tools to start considering the appropriate finance for their business development. For example it features videos from finance experts on the types of funding available in the marketplace. The online guide has enabled us to extend our reach and thousands of businesses are visiting the website every month. Web analysis means we can stage regular enhancements to the site to increase traffic and improve the user experience.


Designated Bank Referrals

Small businesses turned down for an eligible lending facility by one of nine participating banks must be offered a referral to the designated online finance platforms. If the business agrees, its details are passed on to the platform by the end of the next working day. This referral system has been live since November 2016 and many small businesses have already benefited from the new process.

Case study

Fork Truck Borders Instruction Ltd

Fork Truck Borders Instruction Ltd provides training for operators of forklift trucks and other plant machinery including excavators, dump trucks and cranes.

They wanted to buy a new forklift truck, to employ a new member of staff and expand the business, and applied but were turned down for an overdraft with their existing bank, even though the business had managed for seven years with no overdraft and they could see Fork Truck Borders Instruction Ltd’s business accounts.

Under the new Bank Referrals to Designated Finance Platforms scheme, they were referred to Funding Options within an hour, who passed them on to Iwoca. Iwoca approved their funding (£5,000), and they had the money in their account within 24 hours of being turned down by the bank.

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Case study
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