The UK is a haven for startups and growing enterprises, with SMEs making up 99.9% of all of the country’s 5.2 million businesses. It’s no wonder then that business loans are in huge demand, but at the same time, many entrepreneurs are confused about where to find the right funding for their ventures.
Loans are available at national, regional and local level from traditional lenders, alternative finance providers and the government. Yet the labyrinth of funding channels often leaves busy business owners overwhelmed, with many preferring the seemingly easier approach of borrowing from friends and family (although this comes with its own risks).
To create more clarity, we’ve produced an at-a-glance list of small business loans available at national level and across our regions.
National business loans
Let’s start with a few UK-wide business lending options, available from a variety of sources.
- Fleximize – Flexible borrowing options for businesses of all sizes
- Funding Circle – Peer-to-peer lending
- Government loans – National and region-specific lending.
- Market Invoice – Invoice discounting
- Seedrs – Equity crowdfunding
For more information on national lending options, take a look at Fleximize’s free Ultimate Guide to Business Funding.
Find a regional business loan
One of the aims of many regional finance providers is to provide support to their local economies through lending to new and established SMEs and micro businesses. After all, more successful enterprises mean more jobs for the community.
CWRT – SMEs in Coventry and Warwickshire can benefit from regional business loans between £1,000 and £75,000.
First Enterprise – East Midlands businesses can take advantage of loans from £3,000 to £100,000, but need to contribute a minimum of 30% of the loan’s value.
East of England
Foundation East – Startup loans, growth funding, cash flow finance and social enterprise loans up to £100,000 are all on offer to East Anglian SMEs.
FSE Group – If you’re based in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Norfolk or Suffolk, you could borrow between £50,000 to £200,000.
HBV Enterprise – Businesses and social enterprises in Hackney at pre-start, startup and development stage are eligible for funding between £3,000 and £25,000.
GLE Startup – GLE oneLondon is encouraging SMEs (that have been trading for up to 2 years) to apply for business loans between £500 and £25,000.
North East England
Five Lamps – This community support service offers startup loans for new businesses, and up to £50,000 for growing ventures.
Pine Tree Enables – SMEs having trouble finding money from mainstream sources can apply for startup and expansion loans up to £25,000.
Also see the Yorkshire section for loans that cross the border into the North East.
North West England
BBV Online – Between £3,000 and £50,000 is available for regional SMEs, charities, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations.
Lancashire Community Finance – This provider offers SMEs affordable loans between £400 and £25,000 for startups, as well as loans for developing businesses.
Enterprise NI – SMEs may be eligible for startup loans of up to £10,000, paid back over 1 to 5 years.
NI Small Business Loan Fund – SMEs and micro businesses at either startup and growth stage can apply for funding up to £50,000.
South East England
Let’s Do Business – This regional organisation provides a range of lending options for growing businesses and startups in Sussex, Kent, Surrey and Hampshire.
Locate in Kent – With the aim of creating more local jobs, Kent County Council is providing business loans to small and medium-sized ventures.
South West England
South West Investment Group Services – Micro businesses and SMEs in the South West can invest in their future, thanks to loans for growth funding. Farming-specific loans are also available.
Invest in Cornwall – Up to £10 million in loans is available to growing SMEs in Cornwall or for businesses planning to relocate to the county.
Impetus – Responsible finance provider, Impetus, provides startup and growth loans to businesses in Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin.
BCRS – Loans for working capital, starting up, hiring staff and other activities between £10,000 and £150,000 are offered by BCRS.
Business Enterprise Fund – New and developing businesses in West and North Yorkshire and the North East could receive a cash boost between £500 and £150,000.
Finance Yorkshire – SMEs in the Yorkshire and Humber regions can get an injection of cash in the form of loans up to a maximum of £250,000.
Finance for Enterprise – Businesses at all life stages in South Yorkshire and the North Midlands that have been turned down by traditional lenders, can borrow up to £150,000.
Talk to regional lenders
When you’re exploring regional business loans, it’s always worth discussing the options with each lender since some have criteria very specific to their region. Have a look at their websites, then call for a good chat.
Is UK business lending making you feel lost?
If you’re still unsure as to what sort of lending would best suit your firm, our page on the different types of small business loans could give you the direction you need.
Or you can of course give Fleximize a call, to talk to one of our relationship managers about your funding options: 020 7100 0110.