A credit to you

There has been much criticism about the lack of credit available to small businesses and the banks have been bashed for not lending enough. However, Jeremy Malindine from renewable energy expert Puragen, paints a different picture

SMEs do face the challenge of obtaining credit – whether it’s an established business that needs capital to help it expand or an entrepreneur that wants to start up. However, there are numerous pots of money that SMEs can tap into –  it’s just a case of knowing where to go and as some are not that well publicised, it can seem like there aren’t many options.

This year’s Budget announcement saw the government attempt to ease credit availability and move away from reliance on the banks. Young entrepreneurs will benefit from taxpayer-funded microfinance loads and the Department of Business is establishing a pilot Youth Enterprise Loan Scheme. Very small companies can enjoy a new relief since April with the Seed Investment Enterprise Scheme, which means individuals can claim up to 78 per cent tax relief on investments up to £100,000 into firms with net assets below £200,000.

In addition, a new £20bn credit easing scheme has been established to help small companies and make credit cheaper for SMEs that would already get funding from the banks. However, its downfall is that it doesn’t fund new companies.

Starting up a company or expanding one can sometimes see like a daunting challenge. Franchising offers a secure way for an entrepreneur to enter a market, particularly one which may be competitive or just taking off such as is the case with renewables.

Renewable technologies are currently enjoying a boom with more homeowners and businesses switching onto the benefits they offer. So, now is a great time for anyone starting up a business or expanding an existing one, to consider entering the renewables market.

Operating as a franchise can help a business overcome some of the obstacles which prevent it from expanding such as lack of time, people, skills and finance. When it comes to funding a franchise, companies such as Puragen have deals with high street banks. For example, its franchisees can access the £100m dedicated franchise fund from Natwest and RBS.

So, the main message to SMEs is don’t be afraid to start up that dream business or implement that expansion plan to grow your existing enterprise. There are plenty of financial options available to support your activity, whatever your situation.