How can green entrepreneurs and SMEs access capital?

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New Berti Investments product helps clean tech companies overcome the difficulty of getting much-needed financial backing

 Britain is a nation with significant entrepreneurial potential, especially in the cleantech sector. With high levels of economic and employment insecurity, government and banks should be acting in the interest of small and medium sized business owners to incentivise entrepreneurialism.

We need tax incentives and further encouragement for the banks to lend to enable and facilitate a thriving low carbon sector. Why? Entrepreneurs create jobs, bring in revenue and catalyze investment; they are fundamental drivers of a much-needed sustainable economy.

If the UK is to achieve its 2020 carbon reduction targets, scalable changes must externalise from the market economy. Cleantech is a burgeoning sector in the UK market place, and yet deserving innovative UK start-ups are increasingly stumped for funding opportunities and support that would allow them to scale as rapidly as they could. Investor confidence in the green economy is far lower than it ought to be, partly a reaction to government's unpredictability notably in light of the feed-in-tariff fiascos around solar and now heat.

In addition, the very innovative, niche ventures that form the entrepreneurial makeup of UK business are being consumed by the search for funding rather than focusing on the operational aspects. SMEs face a funding deficit of up to a reported £190m over the next five years due to a cash squeeze from banks unwilling to lend and a lack of readily available venture capital.

Alternative financiers with double and triple bottom lines are increasingly common, particularly with Big Society Capital on the brink of launch. Impact investing is mission-led investment that provides a blended return on investment (capital return plus social and environmental impact) rather than traditional investment, which has purely commercial returns. Impact investors, who are willing to take risks in return for far more than just capital, could provide just the right blend of capital, expertise and space for green business to really thrive.

While the discussion continues, two things are clear: there is limited scope for easily accessible capital for entrepreneurs and SMEs, but there are numerous forces working towards resolving the issue. Preparing for potential investment, honing business skills and concentrating on establishing a solid business model is quintessential in the meantime.

This is exactly how Berti Investments aims to help. Berti has launched the Berti Green Accelerator to help SMEs and entrepreneurs working in the low carbon sector by providing intelligent capital, combining bespoke business support, through James Caan's Hamilton Bradshaw Impact Partners, and access to up £3m funding.

Reaching out to green entrepreneurs is paramount to sustainable economic recovery in the UK. Encouraging entrepreneurs and providing them with bespoke expertise and support is the best way of ensuring not only that these businesses can be sustainable, but that they can become competitive and attractive to investors with single bottom line motives. The extent of encouragement towards green growth, catalyzed by supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging investment into the low carbon sector, is no doubt going to determine the future of Britain.

The Berti Green Accelerator programme is open to any conceptually good, low carbon UK business with growth potential and a proof of concept. Further details can be found at the website.

This sponsored content was provided by Berti Investments

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