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It’s entrepreneurs who will get the country back on its feet and help it grow

Cass hosts launch of Next Generation Finance Consortium

That was Sam Gyimah MP's message to a packed auditorium of entrepreneurs and investors as Cass hosted the launch of Next Generation Finance Consortium.

However, statistics presented by Peter Bishop of the London Chamber of Commerce, which were corroborated by anecdotal evidence from around the room, suggested that many SMEs struggle to obtain the financial backing they need.

Part of the problem, according to event panellist Jenny Tooth of Angel Capital Group, is that entrepreneurs aren't aware of the right sources of finance for them - "start-ups shouldn't go to banks".

Nick Underhill of KEO Digital - a crowd funding website - said programmes like Dragon's Den give people the idea that gaining financial support is as easy as a two minute pitch. He suggested entrepreneurs start by asking for support from family and friends, before widening their networks.

The panel, which also included Anil Stocker of MarketInvoice, John Spindler of Capital Enterprise, Darren Westlake of Crowdcube and Ben Hughes of the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) agreed that the key is for entrepreneurs to raise funding at the right time for them, using the most appropriate sources for the stage their business has reached.

The Next Generation Finance Consortium is an umbrella group of alternative finance platforms, crowd funding platforms, business angel networks and credit unions. The event organisers - MarketInvoice and Capital Enterprise, two members of the consortium - aimed to provide insight into the different methods of non-bank finance now available to the entrepreneurs and investors present.

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