£50m SME Fund launched to help businesses recover following pandemic

Altrincham-based alternative SME fintech lender Capify has announced a new £50m Small Business Fund which has been created to support SMEs that require additional finance to kick-start their recovery.

The business, which has provided finance to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses for more than a decade, will now offer business funding of up to £1m specifically to help the UK’s small businesses post-COVID.

The fund will be open to SMEs across a range of sectors that are already trading.

Capify’s lending criteria will take into consideration the challenges of the past year for each business, and support will also be offered to businesses that are preparing to reopen once lockdown restrictions are eased.

For those businesses not open yet or about to reopen, they will be given the opportunity to register for the fund.

The latest government data suggests that more than 1.4 million loans have been given out since the start of the pandemic, but that number only represents a small percentage of UK businesses, with more than six million private sector companies operating in 2020.

Capify CFO/CCO, John Rozenbroek, said: “With lockdown restrictions easing and a huge amount of consumer demand expected in the coming months, we want to do everything we can to support SMEs and we know that funding is one of the biggest issues for businesses at the moment.

“It’s clear that UK SMEs are still in desperate need of finance, despite the huge amounts of money that have been lent through the BBLS and CBILS.

“The businesses we speak to have either accessed the schemes already and now need a second injection of capital, or they were not able to access the schemes in the first place.”

A recent survey conducted by Capify found that 83% of UK SMEs are still actively looking for finance with 43% of these businesses stating the support offered by the Government throughout the pandemic has not been good enough.

“We’re seeing increasing demand from SMEs across all sectors, and we expect this to continue as the economy begins to reopen,” added Mr Rozenbroek.

“The findings from our study also suggest that there is still plenty of optimism in the business community, with ambitions to expand or invest in new equipment, facilities or technology.

“Traditional banks continue to make it difficult for SMEs to get the finance they so desperately need to get back on their feet properly, which means that alternative lenders like ourselves will have a vital role to play in the economic recovery.”