Sunday 4 December 2016

FundSME.ie launches revamped platform to help SMEs find funding

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

FundSME.ie CEO Nollaig Fahy with Sweeney’s Garages Director Greig Sweeney
FundSME.ie CEO Nollaig Fahy with Sweeney’s Garages Director Greig Sweeney

A company which helps small and medium businesses connect with a wider variety of sources of finance has launched a new and updated funding platform.

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Access to credit is regularly cited as the biggest obstacle to growth for Ireland's small businesses. Although the statistics are improving, nearly a third of SMEs who apply for credit from banks are refused. About 96pc of Irish SMEs rely on traditional funders like banks for finance, which is high in comparison to many other countries. In the US, the figure is about 70pc.

Launched last year, FundSME.ie connects SMEs to the full spectrum of finance available to them. During its first year of business, FundSME.ie assisted SMEs in gaining access to just under €20m of funds. The target for this year is €30m.

FundSME's new Pathway to Funding tool poses a series of questions to clients, whose answers are used to identify potential funding sources. The company can then match the SME to funders who best fit their particular requirements.

Users can connect to a range of different funding sources including bank finance, angel investor funds, venture capital funds, invoice discounting firms, purchase order finance houses and peer-­to-peer lenders.

In most cases FundSME.ie caters to SMEs with turnover over €100,000 who are seeking funding of between €25,000 and €5m and employ up to 50 people. There are 45,000 SMEs in Ireland in this category.

Speaking at the launch of the revised funding platform, FundSME.ie chief executive Nollaig Fahy said: "Our experience is that Irish SMEs are constantly looking for new funding sources that fit their particular finance needs and have the type of flexibility expected in the modern commercial environment.

"Our platform guides SMEs to a range of different financial options. I am confident that our newly revised pathway to funding tool will significantly increase funding to the sector - and will help create jobs."

FundSME.ie will host its 2016 'meet the funders' event in Dublin on May 19 at the Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin.

The event will complement the online platform and inform attendees about available sources of funding. SME owners who have already accessed finance will present 'how I got funded' case studies and guest speakers, exhibitors and funding experts will also feature.

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