Access to Finance

A computer mouse and pen resting on debit cards, on a desk

Raising funding for your business

This page lists some sources of alternative finance (financial channels that have emerged outside of the traditional finance system).

An experienced business advisor can help you identify the best funding and finance routes for your business and help you make applications to banks and other organisations / funds.  If you run a business in Bath and North East Somerset you can take advantage of our free business advice service.

You can also use the West of England's Growth Hub to find out more about advice and support available to your business. 

The Bath area is also home to a number of active sector-based business networks which can guide you towards more specific sector-related grant funding schemes.

British Business Bank

The British Business Bank is 100% Government-owned (but independently managed) and works to connect over 90 lenders (banks, venture capital funds, and web lending platforms) with small businesses. The bank's aim is to provide a greater range of finance options for businesses starting up, scaling up, and looking to stay ahead.

Loan funds

South West Investment Group (SWIG) manages several Government-backed loan funds, including the StartUp Loans scheme.

Fredericks Foundation provides loans to start-up and existing small businesses with a viable business proposition but who have not been able to obtain mainstream finance.

1PM provides small business loans, finance leasing and hire purchase.

St John's Foundation provides loan funding to individuals, charitable organisations and social enterprises.

Peer-to-peer lending

Matching lenders directly with borrowers.

Zopa - the top peer-to-peer lender in the UK.

Funding Circle - a peer-to-business lending platform part-backed by the UK Government's Business Bank.

Folk2folk - one of the largest peer-to-peer lenders to business in the UK (Source:  Liberum AltFi Volume Index UK) and is a leading lender to rural businesses.  The company has a branch on Midsomer Norton High Street.

The company introduces businesses looking for interest-only finance of at least £25,000 and who have property (aside from the family home) to secure against it, to investors looking for a good return.  Folk2Folk match applicants with the right investor from its community of approved Lenders and oversees the security and collects interest payments.  Folk2Folk is unique in that it focuses on lending within local communities and counties. The company was founded in 2013, and was born out of a long-established firm of West Country solicitors which has been actively involved in organising private mortgages since the 1930s.  In 2015, Folk2Folk was awarded the Best Lending Platform for Small Businesses by AltFi.

Crowdfunding

This type of funding involves pitching for funds from multiple investors via an online platform.

Crowdcube - Exeter-based and one of the first UK crowdfunding platforms

Kickstarter - the world's largest funding platform for creative projects.

Seedrs - London-based and identified as one of the UK's top 250 businesses and has been invited to join the Accelerate 250 programme.

Venture Capital and Angel Investment

Eden Ventures is an organisation specialising in bringing forward high tech emerging enterprises.

Catalyst Venture Partners is a Bath-based networked accelerator and specialist corporate finance boutique helping technology start-ups.

Funding search tools 

Great Business - A government website which includes the  Business Finance Support Finder tool.

Grant Tree - Helping innovative technology companies to access government funding.

Keep in touch with loan and grant funding news, and other business support schemes and events, by signing up to our e-newsletter.

Other advice

Business West has some useful advice on where to go when the banks say "no".  

Also see Cool Ventures' advice on funding.