Tue, Jan 5, 2021

Game, Set and Equity Match for SMEs

Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) require cash to survive in the midst of a pandemic, while others need investment to thrive. But knowing how to access the right amount of investment from the right source to meet their specific needs can sometimes concern and confuse business owners.

SMEs can secure finance from sources including business angels, business incubators, government grants and subsidies, and traditional bank loans.

However, SMEs often feel overlooked and like victims of a yawning gap in the market when seeking a cash injection over and above what can be termed conventional debt facilities.

How can they be sure they’ll find and be matched with a prospective financier able to provide a pecuniary partnership, who understands what makes them tick and provides support tailored to their requirements and their sector?

Irrespective of why an SME may require financial support and advice—to acquire another business, complete a share buyback, exit the business, manage a succession plan or overcome a hurdle caused by COVID-19 that could leave an otherwise healthy business facing the unfortunate prospect of an insolvency procedure such as entering administration or a company voluntary arrangement—the sum of money and the provider of that money must be right for them.

Whatever the cause of a business’ financial needs, there is thankfully a veritable abundance of potential investors out there willing and able to help in any situation and certainly not deterred by a business in a distressed scenario.

Determined to pair SMEs with the right financial backer for them, Duff & Phelps has created Equity Match—a carefully selected and hand-picked network of more than 70 separate investors ranging from high-net-worth individuals to family-owned offices and smaller PE firms.

These investors share our desire to close this perceived gap in the market for SME funding by sharing one common theme—a willingness and a desire to invest more modest sums of money that meet the needs of a particular SME.

With funding ranging from £100,000 to £2 million, Equity Match unites SMEs with those investors able to inject sums not usually associated with the mainstream equity market focused on larger corporates.

Additionally, one of the key differentiators of our service is that we’re introducing business owners to investors who can often leverage their significant experience in a wide range of sectors to act as an essential sounding board, providing hands-on support and guidance to business owners and their employees.

The right investor needs to be the right cultural fit with an owner-managed business, helping to achieve its ambitions in a sustainable and considered way. In addition, the investor must provide potentially invaluable strategic and sector-specific guidance to deliver the business' growth ambitions or turnaround plan and to generally stay on track.

All of which is of even greater importance as the SME and wider corporate community continues to navigate its way through the stress and strains caused by the pandemic, looking to emerge fitter and financially healthy in 2021.

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