SME news in brief: crowdfunding, alternative finance, late payments

SME news in brief
SME news in brief

Crowdfunding boosted by government schemes

The success of the UK’s crowdfunding industry has been driven by the government’s tax efficient investment schemes, such as the EIS and SEIS.

Research from Growthdeck, the recently-launched equity crowdfunding platform found that 96% of all investment opportunities on crowdfunding platforms are in the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) or the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) that offer significant tax breaks to investors in exchange for funding SMEs.

Growthdeck explains that the high proportion of crowdfunding opportunities that are compliant with the EIS and the SEIS also underlines the importance of these Government-backed schemes to the UK start-up and FinTech economies.

SMEs urged not to rush into IF Isa

The Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isa) has now been introduced, with many P2P firms looking to offer this new product to small businesses once authorised by the FCA.

Folk2Folk CEO Jane Dumeresque argues that, while it is a good thing that savers have more options, all financial decisions must be made carefully.

She said: “We would encourage individuals to research current and future options and assess the detail behind secured lending options.

“Many lenders plan to offer an IF ISA once they receive their full regulatory license from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA is working through a backlog of applications, resulting in only a handful of lenders currently being in a position to offer the IF ISA.”

Late payments reach two-year high

The number of overdue payments experienced by UK businesses reached a two-year high in the final quarter of 2015, with increases reported in 14 out of 17 major industry sectors.

The Euler Hermes Quarterly Overdue Payments Report analyses 17 major industry sectors for reported debtor payment incidents, which it receives daily from the 250,000 UK businesses covered by its trade credit insurance. These include any incidents of companies not being paid for goods and services on time, such as late or delayed payments, default, insolvency, country court judgments, or credit insurance claims.

“Business continues to drive the growth and export agenda, but the increase in financial stress across much of UK plc illustrates that more needs to be done to stop the domino effect of late payments,” said Euler Hermes UK CEO Valerio Perinelli. “Our data suggests challenging times ahead, so firms should tread carefully when offering open credit terms on new contracts or to new customers.”