North West lags behind in alternative finance

Professional Liverpool hosted a packed-out session on Tuesday, offering advice to business leaders on new and alternative forms of finance available in the city region.

Having received ‘excellent feedback’ on a similar session back in September, Professional Liverpool were keen to host another and it sold out in record time.

Hosted by Steve Stuart, founder of the Corporate Finance group and Professional Liverpool Ambassador, the session took place at Liverpool’s Exchange Station.

Speakers included, Alex Macdonald, regional sales manager of Secure Trust Bank who specialise in asset-based lending products; Richard Harrison, associate director of private equity investor Endless, who have worked with large-scale corporations including Crown Paints and Bathstore, and say their focus is to ‘fix problems’.

Adam Gillett, senior business development manager at equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube was up next and gave an interesting insight into some of their successes.

Crowdcube are current market leaders in equity crowdfunding. Their first deal in 2011 saw them raise £60k in 6 months for a bath products retailer. More recent campaigns have seen more than £1m raised in just 6 seconds.

Adam says:

“It is testament to how the seed end of the retail market, in particular, has changed. Crowdfunding has definitely become a default option for many new businesses.”

They were joined by James Hales, head of origination; and Dan Matkin, investment manager of NorthEdge Capital, with Simon Thelwall-Jones of MSIF providing a brief overview of its offering and achievements in 2016 in the city region.

Steve Stuart said:

“The changing financial landscape has led to a reduction in some areas of traditional bank lending and therefore increased the need for alternative finance sources.

“It’s important that businesses are fully informed about the right kind of finance for them for what they need – be it for growth, short-term funding or to sit alongside traditional bank funding.

“Fortunately, the number of providers and range of products continues to evolve and increase which should hopefully ensure there is an appropriate funding option or options for more and more growing businesses in the Liverpool City Region.”

Chair of the corporate finance group, Matt Noon added:

“The series of Access to Alternative Finance events was launched last year and both have been significantly oversubscribed, showing there is a healthy appetite to learn about this type of finance,” said Professional Liverpool’s corporate finance sector group chair, Matt Noon.

“It’s great to see more providers thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative ways of raising finance such as crowdfunding platforms online.

“Our aim is to assist Professional Liverpool members and provide a forum for businesses of all sizes in the Liverpool City Region to come and learn about alternative methods of finance and make the right choice, according to their needs.”

Despite the UK’s alternative finance sector growing to £3.2 bn, according to statistics from Nesta, the North West is still ranked as the least active region for funding received and provided.

Professional Liverpool will host another event on access to alternative finance in April.

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