Find Finance

The high achieving entrepreneurs featured in the 100 Stories of Growth campaign have used a wide range of financial capital to grow. 
Alongside human capital, intellectual capital and emotional capital, financial capital is crucial to a growing business’s success.

On this page you can read about the different financial options available to small businesses. For each type of funding we provide a short definition as well as case studies of 100 Stories businesses that used that form of financial capital.

The definitions are provided by the Finance Hub, an excellent resource for growing businesses established by the British Business Bank. If you would like to learn more, follow the links in each category back to the Finance Hub, where there is more information.


Venture capital

Venture capital invests in businesses with high-growth potential, often after angel investors have got the business started. Corporate venture capital helps businesses get investment from big corporates, in return for shares in the business.


Talmix connects its wide network of consultants with a global client base, using an online platform powered by proprietary algorithm-powered technology. Its scalable and efficient model has appealed to UK venture capital investors.

Expansion capital

Expansion capital helps businesses create new products, enter new markets, acquire other businesses or invest in new systems and equipment to drive growth. The aim is to help them grow as much as possible.


Diamond Logistics grew largely from self-funding, but when it came to expanding the company’s UK-China offering the company examined raising expansion capital from interested Chinese investors.

Angel investment

Angel investors act as mentors and invest their own money in early-stage businesses for a share in the company


Toucan Box is a subscription-based children’s craft company that delivers letterbox-sized kits for children aged three to eight. Co-founders Virginie Charlès-Dear and Sara Barokas raised £1m early on from angel investors – whose input helped them to steer in the right direction.

Equity crowdfunding

Using an online platform, investors buy shares in a company to help it grow.


Cheeky Panda has focused on disrupting the tissue market with a more sustainable product since it started in 2016. The company funded itself with two levels of crowdfunding: a £10,000 pilot phase and then a £500,000 phase a year later via Seedrs.

Private equity

Private equity firms invest in established businesses in return for a large or controlling stake, to help them grow to the next level.


Telecoms firm Virtual1 was set up in 2007 by founder Tom O’Hagan, who sold his house and used the £60,000 proceeds as start-up capital. As it grew, the company considered various private equity investors but eventually settled on BGF, which invested £10 million in 2016. The firm has opened up a new network for Virtual1 and has boosted its board of directors with more expertise.


An IPO (or initial public offering) is when a business sells shares via the public markets, such as the Main Market or the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) operated by the London Stock Exchange.


Kromek creates life-saving and safety-enhancing radiation detection technologies. It listed on the AIM in 2013



Businesses can borrow money on demand up to the limit of their overdraft. Overdrafts can be expensive, but a business will only pay interest on the amount they actually borrow.


Search engine optimisation (SEO) and content agency Re:signal was founded in 2013 and has grown quickly despite shunning external funding. The company has used a modest £30,000 overdraft as well as credit cards to complement its cashflow.

Business loans

A business borrows money from a loan provider such as a bank and then pays it back with interest over an agreed period.


Diamond Logistics was founded in 1992 and spent many years ticking along as a lifestyle business. After spotting a gap in the market, however, founder Kate Lester decided to take a risk and scale the business. A £750,000 small business loan helped her to expand.

Start-up loan

A government-backed loan that helps people who are starting their own business.


Ten Lifestyle Group, a technology-enabled lifestyle and travel platform, was started with a £100,000 government-backed small business loan.

Asset-based lending

A business secures finance against its existing assets; these can include invoices and also machinery, property and even intangible assets such as IP.



Egg products manufacturer Framptons raised a £7 million asset-based funding line in August 2018, comprising debtor finance, plant finance and a term loan


Invoice finance

Businesses sell or borrow against their unpaid invoices, giving them access to the money before the invoices are paid.



Lantum was set up to help the NHS save money on recruitment and staffing agencies. Venture capital was a good fit due to the company’s aggressive growth plans, but the firm has also used venture debt, convertible loan notes and invoice discounting.

Peer-to-peer lending

A business borrows money through an online platform and pays it back with interest over an agreed period.


Real estate marketing business Earth Immo used a loan from leading P2P platform Funding Circle.

Direct lending

A business borrows money from a fund and repays it with interest. A fund may be able to provide loans where a bank will not.


Property finance provider Lendinvest has tapped up a range of capital providers to fund its lending, consisting of funds domiciled in the UK and abroad.

Leasing and hire purchase

A business can use leasing and hire purchase to buy specific assets, like vehicles, machinery or other equipment.


Washington Direct Mailing, a family-run mail and printing firm based in Gateshead, leased five machines to allow it to complete more work in house.

Export finance

Export finance helps small and medium-sized companies to trade internationally

5 Motivational stories that inspire great british exporters

These businesses have successfully grown internationally.



A grant is a non-repayable type of funding, usually awarded by governments, organisations or companies to invest in certain assets or activities, or to help a business achieve a particular goal.


Sphere Fluidics makes cell-analysis systems that help pharmaceutical companies discover new potential blockbusters. Alongside equity funding and a convertible loan, the company has secured around £3.1 million in grants.