The alternative funding sector ‘sustained its willingness to think outside of the mainstream’ in 2018, according to Independent Growth Finance (IGF) boss John Onslow, although Brexit remains its “single greatest barrier”.
IGF provides flexible, asset-based funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK.
John Onslow told Insider more companies are turning to alternative finance as it can be “key to achieving real growth without diluting equity”.
He added that the market had been driven by high liquidity levels in 2018, as well as high publicity for the sector itself.
However, on the UK’s exit of the European Union, Onslow said: “Uncertainty over Brexit has caused some investment to be deferred this year and the implications of Brexit remain the single greatest barrier. 2018 has challenged the resilience of business.”
Research by IGF found that 500 SMEs in the £1m to £100m-turnover bracket said Brexit was their greatest concern. A third had experienced problems with funding requests being rejected, along with issues relating to slow decision-making or turnaround times.
Onslow added: “Political considerations – including Brexit and highly-profiled trade wars – have captured the consciousness of even the smallest SME.
“Despite the SME Health Index finding business confidence has declined, in IGF we have seen a sustained stream of SMEs achieving real growth in 2018, working hard to drive their momentum.”
The firm has also overcome challenges by working with business introducers across the UK and by investing in its staff. In the 12 months to 30 September 2018, IGF’s funds advanced were up by 70 per cent.
“The challenge is to stay relevant and ahead of market trends, whilst delivering value for money through excellent service,” Onslow told Insider.
IGF is headquartered in Redhill, Surrey. In November 2018 it was named Insider‘s Alternative Funder of the Year at the Central and East Dealmakers Awards.
Source: Insider Media