THE FEDERATION of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new business finance aggregator that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match potential borrowers with more than 100 lenders.
The trade body unveiled the FSB Funding Platform on Wednesday, after it was trialled on FSB members in three UK regions.
The new platform has been developed for the FSB by Finpoint and is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Finpoint already runs a business funding platform that includes peer-to-peer lenders ArchOver, Assetz Capital, Funding Circle, Growth Street, LendingCrowd, MarketInvoice, Proplend, RateSetter, Sancus and Wellesley & Co among its approved funding partners.
The FSB said that its new initiative aims to help further the success of the UK’s small business and self-employed communities, after recent research showed that confidence within the sector has fallen.
The FSB Small Business Index for the fourth quarter of 2017, published last week, showed only the second negative reading recorded in the last five years.
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“We’re so pleased to be able to offer this exciting platform to our member base,” said the FSB’s commercial and operations director Dave Stallon.
“Although it’s harnessing the latest innovations in tech it offers a very simple way to access finance, as well as access to human financial advisers. It will transform the business funding market and is a real step change for small businesses.”
“We’re thrilled to have been awarded the contract to provide FSB’s funding platform,” said Finpoint’s managing director Guy Bridge.
“As a small business ourselves – and a member of FSB – we get what’s needed, how small business would like to use the platform and we’re truly excited.”
Access to finance is crucial for the growth of the small business sector, which accounts for an annual turnover of £1.9trn a year, according to the FSB. This equates to 51 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK.
The pilot of the FSB Funding Platform found that the average amount of finance a small business applies for from an alternative finance provider is £39,000 – half the amount sought from high street banks.