Funding Options awarded £5 million grant to ensure finance choice for SMEs across the UK

14 June 2019

Funding Options, the UK’s leading business finance marketplace, has today been awarded a £5 million grant from Pool D of the Capability and Innovation Fund. The funds will be used to help broaden and encourage wider choice of funding for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the whole of the UK, particularly those in underserved local communities. Through the use of Open Banking, Funding Options can deliver impartial lending choice to the UK’s five million SMEs.

The Capability and Innovation Fund was created to encourage the development and improvement of financial products and services available to UK SMEs. Funding Options has pledged to use this grant to deliver £0.5 billion of new alternative lending to UK small businesses by the end of 2022. This means that for every £1 of grant money received, Funding Options aims to deliver £100 in new lending to SMEs that are the backbone of the UK economy.

Research has shown that small business owners are still most likely to turn to their bank first when looking for finance1, and in communities without a bank branch the amount of lending declines2. Funding Options will use the grant to continue to support SMEs across the country and, with the growth of Open Banking, widen the choice and increase the opportunity for these firms to secure funding to grow. Open Banking demands Funding Options is available to all UK businesses.

The funds will also be used to drive the wider adoption of Open Banking among UK SMEs, including an innovative new service to encourage small firms to seek a better business bank account provider.

Conrad Ford, CEO and Founder, Funding Options, said:

“Small businesses are at the heart of the UK economy and it’s vital they are able to access a range of funding choices when they need it. Winning this grant from the Capability and Innovation Fund helps us accelerate our plans to help SMEs across the country achieve their goals. It will help us develop much needed technology solutions to support small businesses in local communities to access funding, and it will also enable us to continue to grow the alternative lending market. We have already delivered £0.25 billion in funding for more than 5,000 hard-pressed UK small businesses, from Cornwall to Skye, and from Northern Ireland to Norfolk.”


The full public commitments from Funding Options can be found on the BCR website.


  1. According to the British Business Bank’s ‘Small Business Finance Markets’ report, 33% of SMEs go directly to their bank when first looking for lending.
  2. Research from Move Your Money.