Twenty thousand ambitious Yorkshire entrepreneurs started working for themselves in the last year – but without easy access to working capital in the coming months, many fledgling businesses will miss big opportunities for growth.
That’s the warning from alternative finance provider MarketInvoice, an innovative peer-to-peer business funder which is set to transform the Yorkshire lending landscape.
Launched in London four years ago, MarketInvoice has now begun a drive to support the ambitions of Yorkshire entrepreneurs as part of a major Northern expansion plan.
One Yorkshire company which has already taken advantage of MarketInvoice’s service is Exquisite Handmade Cakes, based in Leeds which sells its products via major independent food distributors.
Director Viv Parry turned to MarketInvoice for help in growing the company while managing the increasingly strict terms demanded by suppliers to the catering sector.
“MarketInvoice is a brilliant alternative funding platform that will allow the SME sector to perform as it should and drive growth back into the economy,” said Viv.
MarketInvoice enables businesses to selectively sell their invoices to a network of global investors, releasing money up front that would otherwise be tied up for up to 120 days.
Since its London launch in 2011, invoices worth £304m have been traded and the company has secured the support of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), which has provided a £5m funding pot for MarketInvoice clients.
Anil Stocker, chief executive and co-founder of MarketInvoice, said: “The Yorkshire region is proving to be one of the most enterprising in the UK. However, an inability to secure access to working capital is still a major barrier to growth for many of them.
“We’re here to change that. Our new funding solution is turbo-charging growth and enabling businesses to hire new staff, launch new products and expand into new markets.”
Viv Parry, MD of Exquisite Handmade Cakes said: “MarketInvoice helps fund our growth. They take a very positive attitude towards our desire for borrowing, and their product is completely open and transparent.
“Traditional lenders tend to doom and gloom the whole experience, even if you’re borrowing for growth.”
MarketInvoice’s Northern operation is headed by Benjamin Day, 29, an expert in the local business landscape.
He said: “I am looking forward to getting out and about in Yorkshire and supporting ambitions of entrepreneurs in the region.”
MarketInvoice will have seven permanent staff in the North by the end of the year, with around 50 staff across its Northern and London offices.
Fresh statistics reveal that while the ranks of the region’s self-employed swelled dramatically in the last year , many SMEs are still struggling to access the finance necessary for them to achieve their ambitions.
At the same time, The Bank Of England has acknowledged evidence of growing interest in alternative finance. Confidence among Yorkshire companies is also high .
The latest Bank Of England Trends in Lending quarterly report (October 2014) reveals that the annual rate of growth in the stock of lending to both small and medium-sized enterprises remained negative at -1.4 per cent (August 2014).
Over the same period MarketInvoice grew its lending by over 350 per cent.