British Business Bank supports alternative lending for SMEs

Shire Leasing has received an £80 million boost thanks to an investment by the British Business Bank and the private sector which will revolutionise SME funding.

British Business Bank supports alternative lending for SMEs Source image: / CC by 2.0

Shire Leasing, is a company in Staffordshire UK which specialises in lease finance to small businesses, has received an £80 million boost thanks to an investment by the British Business Bank and the private sector which will revolutionise SME funding.

Leasing and asset finance are important sources of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It allows them to invest in assets or equipment for growth which they would not have been able to afford otherwise. The British Business Bank's investment is made up of £40 million from the bank itself, and £40 million from private sector funding.

Shire already supports 11,000 SMEs across the UK, but the investment means it will be able double the level of finance it currently provides to firms. These leases enable small businesses to obtain a range of key assets such as telephone and IT equipment, catering equipment, and software; and they even help farmers fund the purchase of livestock and small wind turbines. The average lease size is £6,000 and the average agreement term is 48 months.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The investment is significant because it shows we are serious about promoting the use of asset finance and alternative lenders. The market is heavily dominated by the big high street banks so innovation is slow, but by making these investments we can start to bring about fundamental changes that benefit both businesses and the market."

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