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Crowdfunding triumph signifies SME finance future

A new feature on the top 10 crowdfunding successes highlights the increasingly mainstream SME lending role this alternative finance service and other non-bank finance products are playing.

Reading through the crowdfunding success stories on startups.co.uk, something that stands out is the breadth of services available to small businesses, from the well-publicised Seedrs and Crowdcube to the lesser known and more niche kriticalmass and Mums Mean Business. Fast forward a year and the list may include QVentures, a newly launched investment platform for high-value equity deals. Another striking detail of the list is the range of projects that it has helped finance, from email systems to housing projects.

This insight into the success of crowdfunding underlines how important non-bank finance has become to small businesses in terms of generating start-up funding and capital to maintain cashflow. The likes of invoice finance and peer-to-peer lending, as well as crowdfunding, are rapidly crossing over from alternative to mainstream status as traditional lenders continue to be slow to drop their cautious stance towards SME lending.

With new CBI data showing optimism among small manufacturers at its highest level since 1988, with orders and output also up for the first quarter of 2014, improving access to SME finance is vital if the sector is to achieve the growth that is so important to overall economic recovery.

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