If you are finding it difficult to obtain finance from the normal sources - eg from a bank or investor - there are more options to consider.
Social and community lending
You may be able to borrow money from a credit union which is likely to be more affordable than a bank loan. They are owned and controlled by their members. This means they have to make decisions that are in members' best interests, rather than to make money for external shareholders. There are also no penalties for repaying loans early.
The Community Investment Coalition (CIC) is a partnership of national organisations including financial providers, charities, trade associations and academic bodies.
The aim of the CIC is to promote access to affordable finance for families, businesses and communities. Responsible Finance provides further information on the CIC.
There are various lenders that offer loans to disadvantaged groups, community businesses and social enterprises. See social and community lenders.
Peer group lenders
Some businesses find that they can access finance, support and advice from other businesses in their peer group - known as peer-group lenders. There are many organisations that have been set up to support specific groups of individuals and businesses. These include:
- Women in Business - business support network that aims to equip women with the skills they need to start and grow a business.
- The Asian Business Association - assists Asian and minority businesses by creating access to opportunities and sharing best practice.
- The Prince's Trust NI can help 18-30 year-olds who are unemployed or in part-time work and are interested in starting a business. You can apply to them for a low interest loan. They also offer free legal advice and many other support services.
- The Black Business Initiative (BBI) - aims to support the black and minority business community.
Structure your business
Name your business
Register your business
Choose your premises