AskIf launches AskIf Funding
”Ask Inclusive Finance, the inclusive tech-enabled funding platform, today announces its plans to transform the finance ecosystem serving small and microbusinesses in the UK, to help kickstart economic growth needed up and down the country.
AskIf’s ambition is to ensure that every creditworthy small and micro business in the UK can get the funding and help it needs to achieve its full potential.
AskIf Funding, the first ‘AskIf-arranged’ lender on the platform, has gained formal accreditation from the British Business Bank to offer loans to small and microbusinesses under their Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme.
Through the EFG scheme, AskIf Funding will be able to lend to viable smaller businesses with insufficient security under normal terms. EFG provides the lender with a government-backed 75% guarantee against the outstanding facility, potentially enabling a ‘no’ credit decision from a lender to become a ‘yes’.
Samantha Bamert, founder and CEO of AskIf said, “The lending situation for many small business owners has been challenging. Smaller enterprises are the lifeblood of our economy, and creditworthy businesses need funding and support to grow. If this can be provided effectively and at scale, we will not only create jobs, but also improve social mobility and have a positive economic impact in left-behind communities up and down the UK.
“Our mission with AskIf is to transform the financial ecosystem that serves Britain’s smallest businesses, unleashing them to make the huge positive impact they could.
“To do this we have what we believe to be a ‘winning’ combination to enable scale; skilled people to support borrowers and make smart lending decisions, the latest tech to embed robustness, efficiency and thorough data analytics designed for this under-served segment of the market.”
This new platform and range of services are designed to empower small and microbusinesses keen to grow. They are often earlier in their lifespan and smaller than established SMEs that are served by banks and the P2P/crowdfunding sector.
AskIf’s strategy is to fill the funding gap that exists for these businesses, with the specific aim of helping them grow significantly. The new ecosystem will effectively incubate businesses over time, helping them to reach maturity where funding for further growth will be more readily available.
The average loan size offered by AskIf Funding will be £40,000 and financial assistance and advice will be available through the life of the loan.
Patrick Magee, chief commercial officer at the British Business Bank said, “We are excited to be supporting AskIf and its strategy for Britain’s microbusiness community. The EFG scheme is an important route to finance for viable UK businesses that may not otherwise be able to obtain it due to insufficient security to meet the lender’s normal requirements. The accreditation of AskIf Funding under the EFG scheme shows the British Business Bank’s continued commitment to help UK smaller businesses access the finance they need to realise their potential.”