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Sources of finance for your business

Find out more about sources to raise finance for your business, establishing the funding that is best for your needs and how to secure investment finance, overdrafts and loans with our selection of guides, checklists, articles and books.

What's on this page?

  • Briefings
  • Checklists
  • Online articles
  • Small Business Update
  • Articles and books from the Library 
  • Useful links

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Expert help for your enquiries and research.

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Featured article

Finance from your customers
A look at the financing of start-up businesses. Examples such as Airbnb and FlightRaja illustrate the trend for using negative working capital - taking advance payments from customers as a source of capital - to finance early business operations. 

You will need to be logged in to the website to gain full access to the range of articles available online.

Featured guide

The business finance guide: a journey from start-up to growth
ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty, 2014. The guide sets out finance considerations and options for businesses at various stages, providing advice and sources of information to help them start, grow and prosper.

Briefings

Directors' Briefings and Start-Up Briefings are four-page guides written for the busy practitioner, director and entrepreneur providing concise, practical advice on core business issues.

Checklists

The How To Do It guides from Atom Content Marketing are a collection of checklists providing a step by step approach to key business issues.

Disclaimer: These publications from Atom Content Marketing are for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

Online articles

The ICAEW Library & Information Service provides access to a range of articles in full text from leading business, finance and management journals. This resource is available to ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users.

You will need to be logged-in to the website to gain full access to the range of articles available online.

Small Business Update

Small Business Update is a monthly magazine for SMEs with articles covering the latest regulatory developments, practical advice and hot topics.

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.
You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

Useful links

ICAEW

Alternative sources of finance: Making it big in business
A presentation on getting the appropriate finance for your business, given in January 2014 by Clive Lewis, Head of Enterprise at ICAEW. Covers many possible types of start-up and early stage finance.

The Business Finance Guide - a journey from start-up to growth
A major initiative for businesses and advisers, launched in June 2014 by the ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty and the British Business Bank. This unique guide outlines many sources of equity, debt and alternative finance. It also includes several tools and ideas to help businesses consider their options, make decisions and plan how they will finance expansion.

SME Finance Best Practice Guidelines
A November 2012 ICAEW Corporate Finance Faculty and Department of Business Innovation and Science (BIS) guide to help SMEs make an informed choice on alternative sources of finance.

UK government

British Business Bank
A new investment programme, announced in 2013 by the government in the press release 'Investment programme to encourage lending to SMEs'. It has been set up as an economic development bank to create more effective and efficient finance markets for smaller businesses in the UK.

Business finance explained
General information on business finance from the UK Government.

Business finance and support finder
Interactive tool to search for publicly-backed finance or business support. With hundreds of schemes available, this is a good starting point to find out which ones you are eligible for and which suit your needs.

Making it easier to set up and grow a business
Information from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) on different routes to raise business finance, aimed at UK entrepreneurs and businesses. Has a section on Encouraging private sector investment which gives details of funds available to small and medium sized business from sources other than banks.

Start-up loans
A government funded scheme to provide loans and mentors for entrepreneurs. As well as start-up finance the scheme offers coaching to applicants to prepare for the pitch for the loan, help prepare a business plan and mentoring for a period after the loan has been received.

Other sources of finance

Better business finance
A host of impartial information and support for UK business customers looking to raise finance.

Business finance for you
Website developed by the British Bankers' Association and Better Business Finance banks with help from a number of business organisations and finance providers, which brings into one place a wide range of finance providers across Britain. Businesses can search for suitable providers by location, the industry they operate in, the amount of finance they require and the life stage of their business.

Bytestart
The Finance section of the ByteStart website has a range of articles outlining the different types of funding businesses can call on, such as, bank loans, business angels and crowdfunding.

Community Development Finance Association (CDFA)
The trade association for community development finance institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs provide loans and support to individuals and businesses who find it difficult to access finance from the commercial banks.

Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP)
The European Commission's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) has several schemes and a budget of over €1bn to facilitate access to loans and equity finance for SMEs where market gaps have been identified.

Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) programme
This new EU programme is dedicated to improving access to finance for SMEs. It will run from 2014 to 2020 with a planned budget of €2.3bn. EC Vice-President Antonio Tajani has explained how the scheme will work in a interview for Enterprise & Industry Magazine: COSME to spur access to credit for small enterprises.

Enterprise Europe Network
The Enterprise Europe Network helps small businesses develop into new markets, source or license new technologies and access EU finance and funding.

European Investment Fund
Striving to respond to the particular needs of specific regions in Europe, the EIF is involved in a number of initiatives to promote regional business development and to use its expertise and experience to create market impact through local implementation of financial instruments.

Social Impact Accelerator Loan Scheme (SIA)
This FSE Group loan fund can provide unsecured flexibly-structured loan finance of between £250,000 and £1,000,000 to regulated social sector organisations such as charities and community interest companies.

Social Investment Guide
A guide developed by Social Enterprise UK & the Big Lottery Fund, aimed at voluntary and community organisation or social enterprises (VCSEs) interested in obtaining finance from social investors.

Reports and guides

The flow of credit in the UK economy and the availability of financing to the corporate sector
This European Commission paper analyses the flow of credit in the UK economy in the years before and after the 2008 financial and economic crisis, with particular emphasis on the corporate sector and the SME segment. It also reviews the main initiatives taken by the UK authorities to improve access to finance.

The rise of future finance
This December 2013 report from innovation charity NESTA presents the results from the first ever survey of UK alternative finance intermediaries. Activities covered include crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and invoice trading.

Seeds of change: Emerging sources of non-bank funding for Britain's SMEs
Report written by Andy Davis and published by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation in 2012 which looks at alternative sources of business finance for SMEs in the UK.

SME access to external finance
A January 2012 Department for Business, Innovation & Skills discussion paper; it examines small and medium-sized businesses' demand for and supply of external finance and assesses the issues they face in seeking external finance. The paper provides data on the availability of different types of finance and a summary of the effectiveness of Government schemes for increasing finance to SMEs.

Why use asset finance?
Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) guide to asset finance. The FLA is a UK trade body for the asset, consumer and motor finance sectors.

Surveys

Baker Tilly's Your business outlook 2014
Baker Tilly surveyed 750 UK SMEs in summer 2013 on their growth prospects and how they are planning to fund growth. See section 5, 'How will growth be funded?', for information on their preferred funding sources.

2013 SMEs' access to finance survey
A European Commission analytical report on the results of a survey investigating access to finance for SMEs in the European Union, conducted across 37 EU countries during August-October 2013.

SME Finance Monitor
Quarterly updates on UK SMEs and their access to finance, published by market research consultancy firm BDRC Continental. 5,000 businesses are surveyed every quarter about their past borrowing events and future borrowing intentions, the largest such survey in the UK.

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