Businesses across the U.K. are struggling with late payments from their suppliers, forcing lawmakers to introduce new legislation to protect SMEs, and part of that regulation is set to include new rules that would require big banks that reject small businesses applying for loans to refer them to alternative lenders.
One Irish company is now providing SMEs in the nation with a new way to access capital. Fundsme.ie opened its digital doors on Monday (April 13) as a way to match small business owners to potential financers. According to Irish publication The Independent, the site is the result of its founders, Patrick Keaney and Nollaig Fahy, witnessing their peers struggling to access working capital for their startups.
Through its Pathway to Funding online tool, FundSME connects small enterprises to loans from banks and alternative forms of finance like crowdfunding. Among its strongest selling points, reports said, is the site’s ability to offer impartial information and resources for small businesses about what is available to them, regardless of the source of the loan.
“The greatest advantage of the Pathway to Funding online tool is its ease of use as it transcends all forms of funding from Government sector to banks through to private equity,” said FundSME’s Fahy, now chief executive of the firm.
The site, which is now live, has applicants fill out a questionnaire, the responses of which are used to match the business applicant with potential financers. At present, a combination of federal and private funding makes more than $6 billion in working capital available to Irish SMEs. Recent research, however, shows that a significant portion of small businesses are unaware of all of their options to access financing, especially from non-traditional sources.
FundSME goes live as concerns have mounted over Ireland’s small businesses and their access to funding. According to the Irish Small and Medium Enterprise Association’s quarterly report released last month, SME borrowers may be seeing fewer loan rejections, but wait time for loan applications has gone up, with an average of four weeks between the application submission and a decision made.
Still, FundSME’s launch supports the existing growth of financing availability for small businesses in Ireland.