In current times, it can sometimes be interesting for entrepreneurs to think out-of-the-box when it comes to financing. Alternative forms of financing such as the win-win loan or crowdfunding are not new but are one of many options in addition to bank financing.
Alternative financing can first and foremost offer a solution for entrepreneurs who cannot turn to traditional banks for financing of their investment project, working capital, etc. But also for entrepreneurs who can or want to obtain only partial bank financing, alternative financing forms offer a possibility to set up a financing mix together with the banks. But also for entrepreneurs who can or want to obtain only partial bank financing, alternative forms of financing are an opportunity to set up a financing mix with the banks, whereby various parties jointly finance the project.
Below is an overview of the most popular options:
Friends, Families & Fans
In the absence of their own input, the environment can be called upon, the so-called "Friends, Families & Fans" (FFF). This allows the FFFs to invest in the company in exchange for a tax benefit. The most well-known financings are:
- Winwin Loan (Flanders): PMV/z encourages individuals to borrow money from small and medium-sized enterprises in exchange for an annual tax credit amounting to 2.5% on the outstanding capital amount.
- Friends' share (Flanders): Is a variant of the win-win loan and will be launched in mid-February 2021. PMV/z encourages individuals to invest in the capital of a company for an annual tax benefit (tax credit). As with the winwinlening, as an individual you will be able to invest up to € 75,000 in a Flemish company and any company can raise up to € 300,000 capital this way. However, each company can only raise up to € 300,000 through the share of friends and the win-win loan together.
- Tax Shelter for start-ups / scale-ups (growth companies) (Federal): PMV/z encourages individuals with a tax benefit (tax reduction) to invest in the capital of start-up / growing companies. Unlike the Flemish Friends Share, the Federal Tax Shelter is more interesting for individuals with a high taxable base.
In addition, the resources of the FFFs are considered by the bank as quasi-equity. Such financing strengthens the credit file and can convince a bank to participate in the financing project after all.
Another form of financing that requires a combination of a bank, an investment fund or a crowdfunding platform concerns the Cofinancing(+) of PMV/Z. In this case, a subordinated loan is granted by PMV/z for up to 50% of the total investment amount. The co-financier must guarantee at least 20% of the overall financing requirement. The remaining financing need will be covered by means of own contribution (min. 10%).
In this form of financing, there are two options:
- Co-financing: A loan of up to 350,000 EUR for start-ups and existing SMEs
- Co-financing+: A loan of up to EUR 700,000 for SMEs with a track record of positive cash flows
This form of financing is excluded for investments in research and development.
Start-up loan (Flanders)
One of the best known non-financing forms is the PMV/z Start-up Loan. This subordinated loan is, as the name suggests, intended solely for the financing of start-ups (active for a maximum of 4 years). The maximum amount of the loan is equal to the smaller of the following amounts:
- 4 times the own contribution. This amount may also be borrowed in part or in full
- 100,000 euros.
Also with the Startup Loan, the equity can be partially absorbed through a win-win loan (bullet form).
Another form of financing that is gaining in popularity concerns Crowdfunding. This involves relying on the 'Crowd' or better the sharing economy to finance an investment project. There are various types of crowdfunding, namely crowdfunding through donations (gifts), through rewards, through crowdlending or through shares.
Crowdlending is based on the principle of "What's in it for me". It involves an investor giving a loan to a company in exchange for an interest payment. Belgian platforms that focus on this type of crowdfunding are Bolero Crowdfunding, Look & Fin, Winwinner et cetera.
With crowdfunding, an administration fee on the total loan amount must also be taken into account, depending on the platform used. Crowdfunding is often raised in addition to bank financing but can certainly be used as the sole form of financing.
Be aware of the risks
Alternative financing can provide a solution when bank financing is not granted, but as with any financing, there are risks involved. For entrepreneurs, alternative financing usually implies a higher interest rate compared to bank interest rates. For investors, the above forms imply more risk in case of failure.
Do you want to know which alternative form of financing is best for your company or do you want to invest yourself? Contact one of our corporate finance experts by calling 051 26 82 68 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.