SMEs increasingly exploring alternative finance options

A new study suggests that UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly exploring alternative finance options as opposed to relying solely on the likes of overdrafts, credit cards and savings to fuel business growth.

According to the latest annual report published by Wesleyan Bank, more than half (59 per cent) of SMEs took advantage of crowdfunding, invoice finance and other alternative funding options last year – up from just 30 per cent of SMEs that did so back in 2016.

Furthermore, 27 per cent of respondents told the bank’s SME Heroes or Zeroes 2018 report that they now “regularly” rely on external finance to help push their business forward – up from just 20 per cent of SMEs that said the same in the previous survey.

The latest report also reveals that business confidence has risen significantly year-on-year.

More than half (54 per cent) of SME respondents said that they were feeling “more confident” about their business’ growth and prospects year-on-year.

Meanwhile, only 11 per cent of SME bosses and decision-makers said that they were “concerned” about the political uncertainties of current times.

Paul Slapa, of Wesleyan Bank, said that SMEs were evidently performing strongly and that it was refreshing to see data that was not “clouded by negativity.”

He added that SMEs were wise to be exploring alternative finance options as opposed to restricting themselves solely to traditional lending.