More women are starting their own business than men in the UK for the first time ever. These women are ambitious. Some 14% want to hire more staff this year. With nearly 1 million women-led SMEs in the UK that could mean around 140,000 new jobs, according to a government report.
And the good news is that it is widely believed that applications for business loans for women are considered more favourably than for men; the reason is that most economies of the world are trying to bring more women into business.
Whether as a woman, you start your own business from the standpoint of a Mum returning to the working environment or a woman who quits her current job because she has a business idea that Lord Sugar would snap up in an instant, as a general rule you’ll need to get funding whichever route you arrive by.
Your first port of call is likely to be your bank, but this can be a more difficult route for anyone as typically the bank is likely to require a clean credit history, an extensive business plan and a rock solid faith in you that you have the ability to turn your business idea into a success. The key point to remember is that with any borrowing, if someone is going to fund your business through a loan, they are going to make sure that they will get a return on their investment.
Then there are the Start Up loans. These are government-backed loans available to small businesses. All owners or partners in a business are able to individually apply for a Start Up Loan. Each partner can apply for up to £25,000 each, with a maximum of £100,000 available per business. These loans are unsecured, which means you won’t need to worry about putting forward any assets or guarantors to support your loan application. However, you will be required to repay the full amount and the associated interest in line with your loan agreement.
The other option is funding through a grant. The positives on this are that you don’t have to repay the debt, but be under no illusion, the grant providers won’t hand over the money unless they are convinced that you meet their pre-set objectives about business financing and will want to see realistic data and projections which seem to be achievable. Your success in obtaining funding is likely to rely on a number of variables including your completed application form. It may even be worth bringing in a professional to help you with this as grant applications are much more difficult than loan applications to complete. So don’t take this route unprepared. Make sure you do your research, understand the rules and regulations that apply to your business model and show that you know who your competition is.
And of course, there are Peer 2 Peer platforms like Access Commercial Finance.
So if you have discovered a way to recreate the wheel but don’t have the pennies in your purse to get the idea off the ground, don’t despair. Funding is out there, you just need to decide which route is best for you.