Are SMEs turning to equity finance in quest for growth?


As the SME market welcomes growth, so do young entrepreneurs looking to venture into the world of business. Recent years have marked an increase in the variety of funding options available, encouraging businesses to consider tailored avenues better suited to their anticipated growth.

These options include the likes of invoice finance and asset finance, along with the more traditional overdraft and bank loan facilities. Meanwhile, a recent report shows a rising interest in equity finance.

So, what are the main differences?

Equity finance

Investors take a share of a company in exchange for capital injection, the benefits – in addition to the funding – being the added skills and industry know-how, the disadvantages being a reduction in the level of control and ownership of the business. Read more about equity finance…


Typically project work, this method sees businesses appeal to a wide audience of people who can choose to chip in as little as £1 to a launch fund. The idea is showcased on the internet and the entire amount must be reached in order for the funds to be released. If this is not reached the money and time will be lost, and if not protected, your idea could be copied. Read more about crowdfunding…


One of the most traditional funding options available, a bank loan offers an initial fixed amount for investment that’s paid back with interest, but it is generally quite inflexible. Read more about the different types of loans available…


Money awarded to a project by the government or similar provider. The release of these are highly competitive and all specific criteria must be met, but there are a wide range available to help businesses at different stages of their evolution.


Overdrafts offer a small amount of flexible credit, and are useful in business emergencies, but are gradually becoming harder to obtain due to restrictions within banks’ lending criteria.

Invoice financing

Up to 90% of the value of outgoing invoices is advanced within 24 hours, enabling immediate re-investment and improved cash flow. The funder will pay the remainder of the invoice value when the invoice is paid, minus a small fee. The additional benefit of this is that the funder can also provide a sales ledger management service and/or debtor protection, enabling the SME to concentrate on business development as opposed to credit control. Read more about invoice finance…

Leasing and asset finance

Assets (e.g. equipment) are rented or leased instead of bought outright, enabling an SME to utilise and benefit from otherwise unaffordable equipment. Read more about the different asset finance options…

Equity finance growing in popularity among SMEs

Interestingly, the latest Small Business Equity Tracker report from Britsh Business Bank reveals that in 2019, a record breaking £6.7bn of equity finance was invested into UK SME’s in 2018. This shows a 72% increase in investement levels between 2016 and 2018, showing the rapid growth in popularity.

In contrast to this growth, statistics show that bank lending has stayed relatively stationery over the last few years, with an average of £14.4bn quearterly gross bank lending to smes in 2018, compared to £14.3bn in 2017.

Logical evolution

Keith morgan, chief executive of the British Business Bank, said “This is a clear sign of investor confidence in British smaller businesses and their potential for growth.

“We are particularly pleased to see a 29 per cent increase in investment outside of London. The British Business Bank continues to work to address regional imbalances in access to investment to ensure smaller businesses across the UK can access the equity finance they need to fulfil their growth potential.”

SME appetite for equity funding was broken down by sectors within  in the report, revealing that leisure and entertainment took the largest percentage of equity deals in London, followed by business and professional services, personal services, technology and finally industrials.

Evidently, equity funding is more popular with some sectors than others, however the future will reveal whether it is the younger ‘Dragon’s Den’ generation embracing the entrepreneurial side, as opposed to sticking with older methods of fundraising, or that perhaps some industries are suited more than others.

Are you looking to raise funds to invest in your small business, but unsure of which funding option is the best for you? Our e-book explains all the options available, and their pros and cons. It can be downloaded for free, here…

Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your requirements, our team of finance experts can be reached on 0800 9774833 or emailed at


Some of the funders we work with

  • Clear Factor
  • Skipton Business Finance
  • Sonovate
  • Castlebridge
  • Barclays
  • Roma Finance
  • Leumi ABL
  • 4Syte
  • Blazehill Capital
  • Kriya
  • Woodsford Tradebridge
  • Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance
  • Team Factors
  • Davenham Trade Finance
  • Accelerated Payments
  • Partnership Invoice Finance
  • Time Finance
  • Merchant Money
  • IGF Invoice Finance
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • Haydock Finance Ltd
  • Berkeley Trade Finance Ltd
  • Investec
  • InvoCap
  • Praetura Invoice Finance
  • Optimum Finance
  • Regency Factors
  • ABN AMRO Commercial Finance
  • Giant
  • MaxCap
  • Aldermore Invoice Finance
  • Cynergy Business Finance
  • Metro Bank SME Finance
  • Nationwide Finance
  • Ultimate Finance Group
  • Peak Cashflow
  • PNC Business Credit
  • Close Brothers Invoice Finance
  • Santander Corporate & Commercial
  • eCapital Commercial Finance
  • Tradeplus24
  • Davenham Asset Finance
  • Pulse Cashflow Finance

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