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Report on the Analysis on the Expansion of Alternative Sources of Finance for the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises


Small and medium-sized firms (also known as SMEs) are the driving force behind the expansion of the global economy, and they have traditionally been the sector’s most crucial structural element. However, obtaining capital to expand operations can be challenging for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Governments, non-governmental organizations, and private investors have concentrated on providing alternative financing sources for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to fill the resulting funding gap. This study examines the expanding availability of alternative funding sources for small and medium-sized businesses. This study examines the various non-traditional financing methods available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including crowdsourcing, peer-to-peer lending, invoice finance, and venture capital. This study also examines the benefits and drawbacks of several alternative funding sources for small and medium-sized enterprises.


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are significant economic growth and job creation sources. However, credit access continues to be a severe barrier for SMEs, particularly in developing nations (Gherghina et al., 2020). Due to stringent regulations, a lack of collateral, and high-interest rates, traditional funding sources, such as bank loans, are frequently inaccessible to SMEs. As a result, to obtain the necessary cash, SMEs are resorting to alternative financing techniques such as crowdsourcing, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, and microfinance. While alternative financing methods have grown in popularity in recent years, there needs to be more research into their efficiency in fostering the growth and expansion of SMEs, especially in developing countries (Junge, Laursen, & Nielsen, 2022). A detailed examination of the effectiveness of alternative financing techniques is necessary for policymakers’ and stakeholders’ understanding of the best financing options to assist SME growth (Zada, Yukun, & Zada, 2021). Therefore, this research focuses on analyzing the expansion of alternative sources of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. Some areas covered are the literature review, methodology, data, results, and conclusion.

Problem Statement:

Currently, many SMEs in most countries are finding it challenging to access capital from banking; hence this has led to the emergence of alternative sources of finance for them. Despite the growing popularity of alternative financing options, there needs to be more research into how they affect SMEs’ financial performance and growth. This information gap restricts policymakers’ and stakeholders’ capacity to design effective policies and strategies to help SMEs access funding and growth.

The goal of The Study/Objectives

This study aims to close this knowledge gap by offering an in-depth investigation of the alternative financing techniques employed by SMEs, the problems that SMEs encounter in accessing funding, and the effectiveness of alternative financing methods in fostering SME growth.

Research question

The research will try to answer the following questions:

-What kind of an impact do non-traditional financing sources and methods have on the ability of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to obtain capital?

-How do non-traditional financing sources and methods compare to more conventional ones?

-How do small and medium-sized businesses acquire financing?

-What obstacles do SMEs face in gaining access to financing?

-What alternative funding options are available to small and medium-sized enterprises, and how effective are they at fostering the growth and expansion of SMEs?

-What policies can be introduced to alleviate SMEs’ obstacles in gaining access to capital?

Literature Review

Access to capital is one of the most significant difficulties SMEs confront worldwide. Conventional financial institutions, such as banks, frequently impose high collateral requirements, rigid lending criteria, and high-interest rates, making it difficult for SMEs to obtain the necessary financing (Berger & Udell, 2006). Alternative financing approaches have developed as viable alternatives for SMEs to get finance from a bigger pool of investors, frequently at cheaper rates and with faster access to money. This literature review looks at the many alternative financing techniques accessible to SMEs and their impact on their access to funding. It also highlights some of the drivers leading to the expansion of the alternative source of finance for small and medium-sized enterprises.


Crowdfunding is raising funds from many individuals and organizations through an online platform. There are four types of crowdfunding: reward-based, debt-based, equity-based, and donation-based (Mollick, 2014). Without expecting a financial return, investors donate money to a project via donation-based crowdfunding. In reward-based crowdfunding, investors receive a non-monetary benefit in exchange for their contribution, such as a product or service. Equity-based crowdsourcing enables investors to acquire firm stock, whereas debt-based crowdfunding comprises investors borrowing money and repaying the principal plus interest. Several studies have examined the impact of crowdfunding on the financial availability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (Fauzi & Sheng, 2022).

Cumming, Johan, and Zhang (2014) discovered that crowdfunding could boost SMEs’ access to credit, particularly in high-growth industries. According to Belleflamme, Lambert, and Schwienbacher (2014), crowdfunding can reduce knowledge asymmetry between SMEs and investors, resulting in cheaper financing costs and better investment decisions. Similarly, Block and Sandner (2011) discovered that crowdfunding could be a viable alternative to established finance methods for early-stage firms. Crowdfunding, however, has limitations and hazards. According to Cumming et al. (2014), crowdfunding may expose investors to substantial risks of default and fraud. Furthermore, the regulatory framework for crowdfunding may be less developed than that for traditional finance sources, posing legal and operational hazards.

Peer-to-Peer Finance

According to Azimovna & Shokhrukhovich (2022), peer-to-peer lending (P2P) is borrowing money from individuals or businesses without using traditional financial intermediaries like banks. P2P lending services connect lenders and borrowers, frequently at lower prices and with quick access to funds. Lenders are compensated with interest payments, while borrowers obtain funds to start or expand their businesses. Increasing amount of research has looked into the influence of peer-to-peer lending on SMEs’ access to funding(Azimovna, & Shokhrukhovich, 2022)

. Berger, Frame, and Ioannidou (2011) discovered that peer-to-peer lending could help SMEs in the United States overcome credit rationing. Li, Li, and Xiong (2015) discovered that peer-to-peer lending could assist SMEs with limited access to traditional bank loans in obtaining finance, particularly in emerging economies. Similarly, Mazzucato and Penna (2016) discovered that peer-to-peer lending can help European SMEs bridge the finance gap. P2P lending, however, has limitations and hazards. Berger and Udell (2006) discovered that P2P lending might expose investors to substantial default and fraud risks. Furthermore, the regulatory framework for peer-to-peer lending may be less developed than that of traditional finance sources, posing legal and practical difficulties.

Invoice Funding

Invoice finance entails selling unpaid invoices to a third party at a discount so the company can rapidly get its hands on cash. There are two distinct methods of invoice financing, known respectively as factoring and invoice discounting. When a company engages in factoring, the factor is the one who is responsible for collecting overdue invoices, but when a company engages in invoice discounting, the SME is the one who continues to be responsible for collecting the invoices (Barlow, 2011). Several studies have investigated the effect of invoice financing on SMEs’ funding availability.

According to Van der Weijde and Groenewegen (2015), invoice financing enables small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to access working capital in a timely and effective manner, improving their cash flow and profitability. In addition, small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with significant unpaid invoices or lengthy payment cycles may find invoice financing beneficial. Similarly, Barlow (2011) discovered that invoice financing could be an adaptable and cost-effective method for small and medium-sized businesses, particularly those with a solid client base and a track record of receiving timely payments. On the other hand, invoice financing has its drawbacks and dangers. According to Van der Weijde and Groenewegen (2015), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with low invoicing or irregular cash flows may need to be better candidates for invoice financing. However, the cost of invoice financing might be relatively high compared to the cost of regular bank loans, which can lead to potential problems with affordability for small and medium-sized businesses.

Several Other Methods of Credit Scoring

Conventional approaches to credit scoring determine the creditworthiness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by analyzing their financial records and credit histories. On the other hand, new credit scoring models have developed viable solutions to overcome the constraints of standard credit scoring systems. This is especially true for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with a limited credit history or financial records. According to Calvo-Garrido, Salinas-Jimenez, and Santos-2020 Pealver’s research, alternative credit scoring methodologies use various data sources to evaluate SMEs’ creditworthiness. These data sources include social media, online reviews, and transaction data.

Many studies have been conducted to investigate the impact that alternative credit scoring has on the availability of financing for SMEs. According to Calvo-Garrido et al. (2020), alternative credit scoring can make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited credit histories or financial statements to acquire funding. Moreover, alternative credit scoring models can increase the accuracy of credit risk assessments. This can result in reduced financing costs and improved investment choices. Similarly, Bouncken, Komorek, and Kraus (2018) discovered that using alternative credit scoring methods can improve the access that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to financial resources in developing markets, where traditional credit scoring methods may be less effective. However, various methods of rating credit come with their constraints and dangers. According to Calvo-Garrido et al. (2020), alternative credit scoring models for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with established credit histories may need to be more accurate than standard credit scoring systems. In addition, the dependability and quality of the alternative credit score data may vary considerably, which may result in potential problems with accuracy.

Drivers Leading to The Expansion of Alternative Sources of Finance for SMEs

Alternative financing for SMEs is growing because of several important factors. One of the main reasons is that SMEs are asking for more money. In a survey by the European Central Bank (ECB), 53% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Eurozone said that getting money was a big problem for their growth (European Central Bank, 2019). This has made more people look for other ways to get money, like crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and invoice financing (Okundaye, Fan, & Dwyer, 2019).

Changes in how regulations work are another reason alternative financing is growing. In many countries, the 2008 financial crisis led to more rules for traditional banks. This made it harder for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to get loans from traditional banks. This has led to the rise of alternative financing options that are less regulated and, as a result, more accessible for SMEs to use.

Technical improvements have been critical in the expansion of alternative finance. With the rise of digital platforms, it is now easier for SMEs to obtain alternative finance and for investors to locate and invest in SMEs. Technology has also facilitated the creation of new types of alternative finance, such as blockchain-based funding, which offers a decentralized and safe method of financing SMEs.

Another factor driving the growth of alternative finance is the growing awareness and acceptance of various financing options among Businesses and investors. When more Entrepreneurs and investors get acquainted with alternative financing choices, they are more inclined to employ them, resulting in continued expansion and development of the sector (Demirel & Danisman, 2019).

In addition, regulations and initiatives implemented by the government to boost lending to small and medium-sized businesses have contributed to the growth of alternative financing options. The importance of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the growth and development of the economy has been recognized by the government, and as a result, policies have been put into place to assist SMEs in gaining access to capital. These policies include tax breaks, loan guarantees, and funding for alternative finance platforms(Demirel & Danisman, 2019).

Research Gap

Even though alternative financing methods such as crowdsourcing and peer-to-peer lending have gained popularity in recent years, there is a need for a more in-depth investigation of their effectiveness in promoting the growth and expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, the literature review found that the majority of research has focused on SME financing in developed nations, whereas additional information is required regarding the funding approaches and constraints faced by SMEs in developing countries.

Based on the literature review, it is evident that there is a research vacuum on the utility of alternative financing approaches in promoting SME growth in developing nations. In the absence of exhaustive research on the efficacy of various financing tactics, policymakers and stakeholders are ill-informed on the most effective financing strategies for promoting the growth of SMEs. In order to fill this hole and shed light on the most successful funding solutions for SMEs, additional research is required.


In this study’s report, both quantitative and qualitative research procedures were utilized. The quantitative component of the study involved a survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across various industries and regions in collecting information on their use of alternative sources of financing. The survey used a Likert scale and featured questions about the sorts of alternative financing used, the reasons for choosing these funding sources, and the problems encountered in getting and utilizing these sources of capital. This study’s research approach consisted of a survey of small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) and interviews with industry specialists specializing in SME financing. Three hundred small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participated in the online survey. Small to medium-sized firms spanned a range of industries and locales. The survey collected responses from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) regarding their use of alternative financing methods, their reasons for using or not using these methods, and their level of satisfaction with the financing methods they employed. Twenty small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financing specialists were interviewed for this study, including policymakers, researchers, and practitioners. Through these interviews, it is hoped to understand better the potential of alternative financing methods to improve the access that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have to financial resources, as well as the risks and benefits associated with their use and the regulatory frameworks that govern them.

The qualitative component of the study included in-depth interviews with alternative finance professionals, such as executives from crowdfunding platforms, peer-to-peer lending platforms, and venture capital firms. The semi-structured interviews allowed for freedom in the dialogue and follow-up questions based on the participants’ responses. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed to discover essential themes and insights connected to SMEs’ usage of alternate sources of finance.

In addition, the secondary data was gathered from scholarly publications, reports, and online sources. The sources were discovered through a thorough search of academic databases such as Google Scholar, JSTOR, and Science Direct, as well as online sources such as industry reports and news stories. The secondary data were evaluated using a content analysis approach, and the findings were triangulated with the primary data to provide a complete study of the research problem.


Sampling methods such as random and purposeful selection were utilized to select the SME sample. It was determined through a random sampling process that the sample should represent the general population of SMEs, both in size and geography. Purposeful sampling was utilized to ensure that the sample was representative of a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, retail, and service. A power analysis was done, and the results suggested that a sample size of 300 would be sufficient to detect significant variations in the use of alternative finance and the results of using it. This is why the sample size was set at 300.

Data Collection

Data collection was conducted using a structured questionnaire designed specifically for this study. The questionnaire included both closed-ended and open-ended questions and covered various topics related to alternative finance, such as the types of finance used, the reasons for using these sources of finance, and the financing outcomes. The questionnaire was administered online, using a survey platform, to ensure that the data could be easily collected and analyzed. The semi-structured interviews were conducted online, where participants were given the link for the interview.

Data Analysis

The data collected through the survey and interviews were analyzed using a combination of descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as thematic analysis. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the key features of the data, such as the frequency and distribution of responses. Inferential statistics, such as chi-square tests and t-tests, were used to identify significant differences in alternative finance use and outcomes across different SME types. Thematic analysis was used to identify the key themes and patterns in the qualitative data, such as the reasons for using alternative finance and the barriers to accessing this type of finance.

Ethical Considerations

The study followed ethical guidelines for research involving human subjects, as outlined by the Institutional Review Board (IRB. For Instance, before any of the participants took part in the online survey that was a component of the research study, informed consent was sought from each participant. Providing participants with in-depth information about the research objectives, the nature of their involvement in the study, and the plans for the data collected was a necessary step in the process. In addition, participants were allowed to decline participation or withdraw from the study at any time during the duration of the study. Data collection and storage were collected anonymously or discreetly to preserve the participants’ right to privacy. Also, precautions were taken to prevent unauthorized access to the data and data confidentiality breaches. In addition to this, compliance with all applicable rules and regulations was guaranteed.

Throughout the research study, transparency was maintained. Participants were informed about how the research findings would be used and distributed and who would have access to their data. This cultivated a sense of trust among the participants and encouraged them to participate in the research. It was decided not to ask potentially harmful or sensitive questions to participants in order to limit the amount of potential damage that may be caused to them. Moreover, participants were given access to helpful resources and support when required. In order to protect the reliability and credibility of the findings from this investigation, we refrained from employing any dishonest or sneaky methods in the survey.

In general, ethical issues were prioritized in the research project, with the protection and well-being of participants being the utmost priority throughout the online survey.


There is plenty of factors that should be taken into consideration because they have the potential to reduce the reliability of the study. First, a sample size of 300 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) might only accurately represent some SMEs. Second, the research focused on small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) in a single nation, meaning the findings may not apply to businesses in other nations or regions. Finally, the information used in the study was self-reported, which introduces the possibility of error and bias. Last but not least, the effects of alternative finance throughout the study should have been investigated. Further investigation is required to determine whether or if these financing methods are viable and can be implemented more extensively.

Notwithstanding these limitations, the study provides insightful information regarding how small and medium-sized businesses use alternate forms of funding and the results of doing so. The findings indicate that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may succeed with alternative funding, mainly if they have not obtained money from traditional lenders. The study’s findings indicate that decision-makers at government agencies, financial institutions, and small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) must collaborate to address the issues effectively.


The poll results show that small and medium-sized businesses are using alternative ways to raise money more and more (SMEs). Seventy percent of the 300 small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) asked said they use at least one alternative way to get money. The most common way to get funding was through invoice finance (45%), then peer-to-peer lending (30%), and then crowdfunding (25%). People support using these methods for several reasons: lower overall costs, more accessible and faster access to financing options, and a more straightforward application process. On the other hand, a large number of SMEs, 30% to be exact, said they do not use alternative funding platforms because they do not trust or know about them.

During the interviews, subject matter experts shed light on the potential of alternative financing methods to improve access to financing available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly those with limited collateral or credit history. The specialists also stressed the significance of effective risk management and regulatory frameworks to ensure the safety of investors and the continuity of markets. The specialists believed that traditional financing sources might be supplemented with alternative financing techniques, but the experts cautioned that the efficiency of these approaches could be contingent on the sector in which the SME operated its size and its current financial situation.

The expansion of alternative financing methods for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has the potential to increase SMEs’ access to financial resources, which will, in turn, assist the growth and development of SMEs. According to the findings of the study, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly turning to alternative financing methods; however, the study also found that the effectiveness of these methods may be contingent on a variety of factors, including the industry in which the SME operates, its size, and its financial position. According to the study’s findings, policymakers and practitioners should recommend that small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) support small businesses attempting to access alternative financing methods and raise awareness among SMEs regarding alternative financing methods. The study’s findings also point to the necessity of conducting additional research on the potential drawbacks and advantages of alternative financing methods and the influence these factors have on the operational performance of small and medium-sized businesses.

Discussion and Conclusion:

While trying to secure finance from traditional financial institutions like banks, small and medium-sized businesses (also known as SMEs) face several significant challenges. Crowdfunding, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, invoice financing, and other alternative credit scoring techniques are a few examples of the alternative financing methods that have emerged as potential solutions to address the limitations of traditional financing sources. Other alternative credit scoring techniques include asset-based lending and revolving credit. According to an analysis of the pertinent literature, these alternative means of financing can assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in gaining access to funding from a wider variety of investors, typically at lower costs and with a more expedient process. This can help SMEs increase their chances of success.

Nevertheless, these alternative ways of collecting money have limits and dangers, including regulatory, legal, and operational dangers. These dangers may include the following: Therefore, before deciding on a source of financing, small and medium-sized businesses ought to perform a comprehensive analysis of the various financial strategies that are available to them in order to determine which ones are best suited to meet their requirements as well as requirements that are based on their circumstances. This should be done to choose the best financing source to meet their needs.


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