Research continues to show that one of the main reasons entrepreneurs fail to grow their businesses is due to their inability to obtain business funding. Yet, there are more than 350 different funds available to small businesses and many of the lenders are struggling to find businesses to fund. This disconnect between the availability of business funding and the ability of SMMEs to obtain funding is the problem that an innovative solution called finfind addresses.
Finfind is a unique, cloud-based Access to Finance portal sponsored by the Department of Small Business Development through its implementing agency SEDA. It provides a wealth of easy-to-understand information about small business finance and has a comprehensive database of active lenders that spans both government and private sector funds.
Small businesses can access this online solution 24/7 at no cost and are able to learn about the different types of finance and how they work and can be linked to a list of lenders that match their specific finance profile. Finfind has a team that continuously updates the lender database to ensure that the fund details are kept current at all times. Finfind has four main sections, this is how it works:
- Learn about Access to Finance has a host of useful and easy-to-understand articles that explain how small business finance works. This is especially useful to entrepreneurs who are not familiar with financial investment terms such as equity and collateral or who aren’t sure how Term Loans or Invoice Discounting options work. Click here to learn about access to finance.
- “Find Lenders” section enables small businesses to see a list of all the lenders that can fund their businesses. Finfind has a comprehensive database of lenders (both public and private) and has mapped these to the eligibility criteria that applicants need to comply with. So this section asks the entrepreneur to register and then answer questions about the business owners, the business itself and the availability of the documents. If the SMME is finance ready (this means they have the necessary documents), then their answers are used to filter the database of funds, according to their eligibility criteria and find the ones that match their stated needs. When a user clicks on one of the loans in the list, a summary of the loan is displayed, details of the submissions and application process are available and full contact information is given. This makes it easy for small businesses to understand what finance options are available to them and what they need to do in order to apply for the money. Do you want to take out a loan? (See editors note below)
- “Get Advice” section helps link SMMEs to consultants who can assist them if they are battling to become finance ready or need help with their funding application. Finfind has partnered with SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency), SAIPA (South African Institute of Professional Accountants) and IBASA (Institute of Business Advisors South Africa) – all of whom have a comprehensive database of accredited consultants who can assist. SEDA branches provide subsidised support for small businesses, but SAIPA and IBASA consultants will charge for these services. The entrepreneur selects whether they want to use a subsidised or paying service and then selects their province and closest town. Finfind then displays the closest SEDA branch addresses and contact details or a short list of SAIPA or IBASA consultants in their area. Click here for advice.
- “Get Tools” provides access to useful tools that can help SMMEs become finance ready. These include free online training videos to manage financial recordkeeping for startups and small businesses, as well as access to an online, easy-to-use accounting solution for entrepreneurs who don’t understand accounting. It provides quotes, invoices, payroll and complete small business money management including financial statement generation. Go to the toolbox
Finfind is easy to navigate and there is the additional benefit that SMMEs are able to repeat the finance readiness quiz and select different reasons why they need finance. This gives a new set of results and can be a useful means of identifying the most suitable business finance. For example, if a small business needs funding to commercialise technology, they will only see seven funding options. However, if they were to select the funding option “To grow my business”, there are more than 50 funding options to choose from.
Small business funds vary considerably and it helps to understand that the reason why you need the funding, the amount, your industry sector and whether the business is profitable all impact on the number of funding options you’ll see.
Article written by
Robynne Erwin, Project Management, Finfind
Office: 086 176 3279
www.finfindeasy.co.za | Facebook | Twitter
Editors Note: Small businesses should never enter into interest based loans with banks. I say this for religious reasons, but also because interest based financing makes a business less likely to succeed. Finfind is an incredibly helpful tool, and we encourage readers to use the tool, and one of the reasons we are linking to the site is because it assists you to make informed decisions.