5 Unconventional Ways of Raising Finance for Your Small Business in the UK

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Starting and sustaining a small business in the UK often requires substantial financial backing. While traditional methods like bank loans and venture capital investments are widely known, there are unconventional avenues worth exploring. In this article, we’ll explore five innovative ways to raise finance for your small business in the UK.

Crowdfunding: Thinking Outside the Box

Crowdfunding has emerged as a popular alternative for small businesses seeking capital. According to Statista, the global crowdfunding market was valued at $13.9 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $28.8 billion by 2025. In the UK alone, crowdfunding platforms raised over £332 million in 2020, demonstrating its growing significance as a financing option.

Crowdfunding platforms like Crowdcube, Seedrs, and Kickstarter provide entrepreneurs with access to a vast network of potential investors. By leveraging the power of social media and online communities, businesses can attract funding for projects ranging from product development to community initiatives. Successful crowdfunding campaigns often tap into the ethos of collective support, rallying backers around a compelling vision or cause.

Peer-to-Peer Lending: Cutting Out the Middleman

Peer-to-peer lending, or P2P lending, has disrupted the traditional banking landscape by connecting borrowers directly with individual lenders through online platforms. In the UK, the P2P lending market reached £4.6 billion in cumulative lending by the end of 2020, reflecting its rapid growth and acceptance.

One of the key benefits of P2P lending is its accessibility to businesses that may struggle to obtain financing through conventional channels. With lower overhead costs and streamlined processes, P2P platforms offer competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Moreover, P2P lending promotes financial inclusivity by allowing individuals to invest their money directly into small businesses, fostering a sense of empowerment and community support.

Invoice Financing: Unlocking Cash Flow

Invoice financing offers a creative solution for businesses facing cash flow challenges due to unpaid invoices. In the UK, late payments are a significant issue, with small businesses owed an estimated £23.4 billion in overdue invoices. Invoice financing provides a way for businesses to access funds quickly by selling their unpaid invoices to third-party finance providers.

By converting accounts receivable into immediate cash, businesses can bridge gaps in liquidity and seize growth opportunities without waiting for payment. Furthermore, invoice financing is flexible and scalable, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries. Providers like MarketInvoice and Bibby Financial Services offer tailored solutions to meet the diverse financing needs of small businesses in the UK.

Angel Investors: Finding Your Financial Guardian Angels

Angel investors play a crucial role in supporting early-stage startups and innovative ventures. According to the British Business Bank, angel investors invested £1.3 billion in equity finance in 2019, highlighting their significant contribution to the UK startup ecosystem.

Unlike traditional investors, angel investors often provide more than just capital. They bring valuable expertise, industry connections, and mentorship to the table, helping entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of scaling their businesses. Building relationships with angel investors requires a combination of networking, pitching skills, and strategic alignment. Platforms like Angel Investment Network and Seedrs offer entrepreneurs access to a diverse pool of angel investors interested in backing promising ventures.

Government Grants and Schemes: Tapping into Public Support

The UK government offers various grants, loans, and support schemes to foster entrepreneurship and innovation. In 2020, the government allocated £2.9 billion to support research and development activities through initiatives like Innovate UK and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Government grants and schemes provide critical funding for startups and small businesses, particularly in high-growth sectors such as technology, healthcare, and renewable energy. By leveraging government support, entrepreneurs can accelerate product development, expand their operations, and create jobs. Eligibility criteria and application processes vary depending on the specific programme, so entrepreneurs should carefully research available opportunities and seek guidance from business support organisations like the Federation of Small Businesses and the UK Business Angels Association.


Innovation knows no bounds when it comes to financing a small business in the UK. By exploring unconventional avenues such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, invoice financing, angel investors, and government support, entrepreneurs can find the financial resources they need to turn their vision into reality.

Unique FAQs

  1. Is crowdfunding suitable for all types of businesses?
    • While crowdfunding can be effective for many businesses, it may not be suitable for highly niche or complex ventures.
  2. Are there any hidden costs associated with peer-to-peer lending?
    • Some peer-to-peer lending platforms may charge fees for loan origination, servicing, or late payments, so it’s essential to read the terms and conditions carefully.
  3. Can invoice financing affect my relationship with clients?
    • Invoice financing is typically confidential, meaning your clients may not be aware of the arrangement. However, transparent communication is crucial to maintaining positive relationships.
  4. What percentage of equity do angel investors usually expect?
    • Angel investors typically seek minority ownership stakes in exchange for their investment, with the exact percentage varying based on factors such as the business’s stage, valuation, and growth potential.
  5. How long does it take to secure government funding?
    • The timeline for securing government funding can vary widely depending on factors such as the complexity of the application, available budget, and processing times of relevant agencies.

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