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Funding for SMEs
Business consultant Warren Knight on the alternatives to traditional bank lending.



11 February 2014

Having spent the past 20 years helping businesses to grow and thrive, Warren Knight is well-acquainted with both success and failure. Working alongside coaches and mentors, he has developed his own brand and founded several companies.

Today, keynote speaker Knight is a sought-after social media and digital commerce expert, whose own businesses have benefitted from assisted funding. One received £150,000 SEIS investment, and was later valued at £1m. A second business was launched with a £5,000 Start Up Loan and the support of online giant Amazon.

Knight is drawing on his experience to help SMEs secure funding of their own. He admits that banks are reluctant to pay out, but encourages business owners to explore the alternatives.

Knight says, “Around 336,000 of UK SMEs applied for bank loans between Q3 2011 and Q2 2012 – and 23 per cent of these were rejected. However, with all these government-run initiatives available, you as a business owner can get the funding and investment you need to grow your business.”

Independent retailers can apply for a Growth Accelerator loan, and match-funding of £2,000 – or a Start Up Loan of up to £15,000. With the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, meanwhile, they can receive £150,000 from angel investors. One in five small businesses now uses some form of asset-based finance, and Knight hopes that more will tap into what he calls “the underpublicised reserve of knowledge and cash” in the future.

In the meantime, he’s happy to talk retailers through the options – and will be taking to the stage at Moda this season with a special investment seminar.


 
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