Poor domestic growth, declining consumer demand and a surge in operating costs has seen confidence among the UK’s small businesses drop for the fourth consecutive quarter. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Small Business Index, a barometer of small business confidence, stood at -2.5 in Q4 2017, falling from +20.0 in Q1 2017. It’s only the second negative reading recorded by the Index in the past five years, the first coming in the wake of the EU referendum.
In a bid to address this fall in confidence and further support the growth of small businesses, FSB has launched the FSB Funding Platform, an online portal that gives FSB members free access to more than 100 alternative business lenders. The platform was developed by Finpoint, a funding platform founded in 2014, and uses intelligent matching technology to match businesses that need funding with the best finance providers for their circumstances. It also provides access to financial advisors.
A pilot of the FSB Funding Platform found that £39,000 is the average amount that a small business applies for from an alternative lender – half the amount that they seek from banks, or ‘traditional finance’. It also discovered that 40% of small businesses seek alternative finance for equipment finance, while another 40% require it for working capital.
“We’re so pleased to be able to offer this exciting platform to our member base,” said Dave Stallon, commercial and operations director at FSB. “Although it’s harnessing the latest innovations in tech it offers a very simple way to access finance, as well as access to human financial advisors. It will transform the business funding market and is a real step change for small businesses.”
Guy Bridge, managing director of Finpoint, added: “We’re thrilled to have been awarded the contract to provide FSB’s funding platform. As a small business ourselves – and a member of FSB – we get what’s needed, how small business would like to use the platform and we’re truly excited.”