As our CEO, Christoph Rieche, put it: “This is good news for small businesses who were previously limited to cumbersome application processes, unfavourably stringent criteria, and poor customer service at high street banks. While the banks have steadily been withdrawing access to capital from an already underfunded market, iwoca has empowered tens of thousands of small and micro businesses across the UK by making crucial and fair finance available in seconds, not days.”
Last night, ten iwocans, dressed to the nines, made the trek from our offices in Tottenham Court Road over to the Grosvenor House Hotel, in Mayfair, for the 2018 Credit Awards. We were shortlisted for three awards – Alternative B2B Lender of the Year, Best In-House Use of Technology, and SME Lender of the Year – and were honoured to leave with the prize for Responsible Lender of the Year for Medium-Sized Businesses.
The Credit Awards are a great opportunity to reflect on the hard work of the past year, and to reward ourselves with trips to the dancefloor and a few flutes of bubbly. More than anything, it feels wonderful to be recognised for offering fast and flexible credit facilities to SMEs across Europe through the iwoca website and through partner integrations with our Lending API.
It also gives us an opportunity to remember that responsible lending isn’t just good business – it’s important for the entire economy that SMEs have reliable access to financing. Though SMEs employer over half the UK workforce and account for roughly half the total turnover, a British Business Banks report recently revealed that 56% of smaller businesses find it difficult to secure financing, 69% contact just one provider, and 38% give up after their first rejection.
All the while, lending overall is contracting. According to UK Finance, the value of loan facilities approved each quarter by high street banks for businesses with less than £2 million in annual turnover fell by 52.3% between the beginning of 2012 and the end of 2017. Since its launch in 2012, however, iwoca has originated more than £400 million in loans for close to 20,000 small businesses through around 50,000 transactions.
We’re sure we’ll have plenty more growth and service to celebrate at next year’s Credit Awards.