The alternative finance industry has grown at a phenomenal rate. Funding options – such as peer-to-peer lending, and crowdfunding – have in many instances displaced the traditional role of the high-street bank. In fact, eBay recently discovered that 72% of the UK’s small businesses avouched they were no longer dependent on banks.
But now that the recession is widely accepted to be over, Banks are behaving with less caution and remerging as viable options for SMEs seeking finance.
In a new move to support SMEs, Barclays and the European Investment Fund (EIF) have agreed to provide £100m worth of loans over the next two years. The European Commission has backed the initiative, and its European Fund – launched initially to bridge the investment gap – is actively supporting the campaign.
Barclays’ head of finance, Karl Nolson, has said: “The UK economy needs innovation, and innovators need finance”. He added: “In offering Innovation Finance it enables us to provide additional funding solutions, supporting more businesses in the UK with the potential to be blue-chip companies”.
Jryki Katainen, European Commission VP, also commented: “There is a thriving start-up scene in the UK and this agreement under the Investment Plan for Europe will give those start-ups as helping hand”
We’re looking forward to see the first SMEs realise blue-chip status as a result of the agreement.