Website opens the door for SMEs funding
It's getting easier for SMEs to make the connection with finance that will set them on their way
A one-stop-shop website for small business owners who are seeking funding to grow their firms goes live today.
With 200,000 SMEs operating in Ireland, access to finance from traditional banks and other sources remains a stumbling block for these firms despite improvements since the height of the recession.
As a result, the website - fundsme.ie - was born. It is the brainchild of corporate financier Patrick Keaney and entrepreneur Nollaig Fahy, who decided to launch it after discovering a number of their friends had problems accessing finance to expand their businesses.
"The greatest advantage of the Pathway to Funding online tool is its ease of use as it transcends all forms of funding from Government sector to banks through to private equity," said FundSME chief executive Nollaig Fahy.
"It specifically encompasses providers of finance and so, works hand in hand with the Government's own online SME tool which highlights Government supports."
From working capital to bank lending and/or crowd-funding, the site outlines the range of investment available to Irish SMEs and provides clear, impartial information on what's available. It also collates the existing and alternative funding options available to your business.
Put simply, the site includes an interactive questionnaire that encompasses location, sector and size of the business, and based on the answers, SME owners are provided with a list of the funding options that best suit their operations.
While there are over 100 sources of funding across Government and private sectors totalling more than €6bn, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 SMEs showed a lack of awareness of these supports, particularly non-banking grants.
In addition, FundSME will host a funding conference at the RDS on May 28 where small business owners can meet the investors who will fund the growth and expansion of their firms.
The organisers are also hosting a number of roadshows across the country ahead of the conference in association with local Chambers of Commerce, at locations ranging from Kilkenny to Cork and including Limerick, Dundalk and Galway.
"The conference is being held in the RDS - but our focus is very much a countrywide one and we are also targeting a wide range of sectors from agri to technology," added Fahy.
The conference can accommodate up to 4,000 SMEs and registration at the FundSME website is free.
"A number of service providers will also attend, including accountants and tax advisers, so the focus is not just on funding," said Fahy.
Sunday Indo Business