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Access to Business Finance in NI and ROI

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by Startacus Admin

Access to Business Finance in NI and ROI (excluding the Banks!)


Following on from our recent article on the organisations that can support your startup in Ireland (North and South), Donal Leahy, Business Boot Camp Programme Manager at Enterprise NI has kindly offered to write a separate, but inter-linked article on the non-bank finance options which are currently available to businesses, startup or otherwise throughout the island of Ireland.

Over to Donal to explain all...Access To Business Finance NI and ROI

This article will highlight some of the alternative non-bank finance options that are now available to businesses in the NI & ROI markets. I have purposely excluded all traditional mainstream lenders as most people are aware of them already and what they offer.

So to start off, what are the different types of finance options available? Well here is a list of the most popular at present along with some detail of providers offering this finance option in each market.

1) Commercial Loan Providers
2) Social & Community Lending
3) Peer – to – Peer Lending
4) Equity Finance
5) Crowdfunding

And so on…..

Northern Ireland

As someone who works within the alternative finance industry here in Northern Ireland, I am well placed to see the various options open to both start-up & existing businesses based in NI.

Access To Business Finance NI and ROI1) Commercial Loan Providers

Enterprise Northern Ireland

ENI Start Up Loans

ENI in partnership with the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) is an official Delivery Partner of The Start-up Loans Company, delivering loans and mentoring to entrepreneurs. ENI through its network of LEA’s across NI works to support entrepreneurs looking to start a business by helping them develop their business plan and then by providing them with access to finance in the form of a Start-up Loan. Loan recipients also get access to a mentor to support them and help make their business a success. The fund lends up to £10K only to businesses that are trading less than twelve months, so it really caters for the very early stage businesses that cannot get finance from traditional mainstream sources.

For details visit: www.enterpriseni.com and www.eniloans.com

Invest Northern Ireland

Invest Northern Ireland has in recent years developed an excellent Access to Finance Strategy initiative where they have built a suite of finance options which cater from the start-up level right through to development capital.
Their funds are:

Growth Loan Fund

The £50m Growth Loan Fund provides loan finance to local small and medium-sized businesses.

For details visit: www.whiterockcp.co.uk

NI Small Business Loan Fund

The NISBLF provides unsecured loans to individuals, private companies and social enterprises in the small, medium and micro enterprise size range. Ulster Community Investment plc (“UCI”) manages and delivers the NI Small Business Loan Fund in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland. This fund lends to both start-up and existing businesses that have exhausted their lending opportunities elsewhere. For start-up’s (under two years trading) the fund can lend up to £15K and for existing businesses the maximum is £50K. Anything above that then there is the Growth Loan Fund as mentioned above.
For details visit: www.nisblf.com

More detail can be seen via this link to Invest NI’s website:
http://www.investni.com/support-for-business/funding-for-business/access-to-finance-strategy

2) Social & Community Lending

Ulster Community Investment Trust – UCIT Ltd

Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd (UCIT) was established in 1995 in response to decreasing grant support from government and the difficulties experienced by community organisations in accessing commercial loan facilities. The organisation now stands as the key provider of social finance, free advice, business support and mentoring to the social economy sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are recycled for reinvestment into the community and social enterprise sector.

For details visit: www.ucitltd.com

3) Peer – to – Peer Lending

Obviously within the UK market, there is a wide range of peer – to – peer lenders that NI business can access.

Funding Circle

They provide business loans from £5k to £1 million without the banks. Borrow from a community of thousands of people together with the Government-backed British Business Bank, local councils and universities.

For details visit: www.fundingcircle.com

Co-Funder (NI) Ltd

This platform is aimed at quality, growth based companies who are already established and looking to expand and create jobs but who lack the necessary working capital to do so. They are based in NI.

For details visit: www.cofunder.co.uk

4) Equity Finance

Halo

Halo is the Northern Ireland Business Angel Network. It is a joint initiative of Invest Northern Ireland and Inter trade Ireland and delivered by the NI Science Park. Halo facilitates the investment of private capital in companies that are either based in Northern Ireland or have a significant presence there. Although run from within the NI Science Park, Halo is open to all NI companies except those operating in property or straight retail. Halo will look at all stages from start-up to establish and both technical and non-technical companies. Since 2009, over £8m of investment from angels has gone into NI companies. The network is run by Alan Watts, Halo Director and Paul Clancy, Halo Manager.

For details visit: www.nisp.co.uk/halo

Tech Start NI

This is a £29m integrated suite of funds and support for entrepreneurs, seed and early stage SMEs and university spin-outs. This fund is currently run by Pentech Ventures LLP. The Proof of Concept funding is a very key piece of support for many of the early stage businesses in NI.

For details visit: www.techstartni.com

CoFund NI

This provides equity funding in co-operation with other investors.

For details visit: www.cofundni.com

Development Funds

Two £30m Development Funds offer equity funding of between £450,000 and £1.2m (in any one investment round), made up of public and private money.

For details visit: www.kernel-capital.com and www.crescentcapital.co.uk

Republic of IrelandAccess To Business Finance NI and ROI


1) Commercial Loan Providers

Micro Finance Ireland

Microfinance Ireland (MFI), as a not-for-profit lender, has been established to deliver the Government’s Microenterprise Loan Fund. Unsecured loans from €2,000 up to €25,000, Term from 3 to 5 years. All business sectors are eligible to apply. Companies may be Sole Traders, Partnerships and Limited Companies with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of less than €2m. Loans may be used to fund the start-up of a business, the purchase of stock, equipment, machinery and business vehicles and are also available to established enterprises. Microfinance Ireland works in partnership with the Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s) nationally.

For details visit: www.microfinanceireland.ie and www.localenterprise.ie

2) Social & Community Lending

Ulster Community Investment Trust – UCIT (Ireland) Ltd

Ulster Community Investment Trust Ltd (UCIT) was established in 1995 in response to decreasing grant support from government and the difficulties experienced by community organisations in accessing commercial loan facilities. The organisation now stands as the key provider of social finance, free advice, business support and mentoring to the social economy sector in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

As a registered charity, all profits generated by UCIT are recycled for reinvestment into the community and social enterprise sector.

For details visit: http://www.ucitltd.com/roi-home

3) Peer – to – Peer Lending

Linked Finance

For details visit: www.linkedfinance.com

4) Equity Finance

Business Angels

The Business Angel Partnership is a joint initiative between Enterprise Ireland, InterTrade Ireland and the Irish Business and Innovation Centres.

It matches private investors with pre-screened investment opportunities in start-up and developing businesses. The partnership can be of enormous benefit to both the investor and the entrepreneur. The investor gets access to motivated, early-stage companies with strong growth potential. The start up business receives funding as well as access to private investors with vast and varied business experience.

For details visit: www.businessangels.ie

GlobalAccess To Business Finance NI and ROI


5) Crowdfunding

Seed Ups

An Irish based crowdfunding platform that specialises in early-stage funding for technology startups in Ireland, UK & USA.

For details visit: www.seedups.com

Seedrs

Seedrs is an online platform for discovering and investing in great startups. Therefore startup businesses can raise seed capital seamlessly through the community and independent investors.

For details visit: www.seedrs.com

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform based in the United States. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology.

For details visit: www.kickstarter.com



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Published on: 13th April 2015

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