Although traditional bank loans and overdrafts have become more difficult to obtain for early stage companies which do not have regular revenue streams or assets which can be offered as security, a number of new lenders have appeared recently, some supported by the British Business Bank (which is a good starting point for further information). 

Most business banks – newcomers as well as the ‘big five’ – offer a wide range of services, and we simply give here their business websites for further investigation. 

There are many small loan funds, not listed here, which have local geographic restrictions and some of these can lend to companies at an early stage. The sources listed in our ‘Further information’ section generally include these, and local offices of Business Gateway ( should have lists of such funds.

Besides the lenders listed here, see the peer-to-peer funders listed in the Crowdfunding section of this Guide.


Bank of Scotland


British Business Bank

Government owned, but independently managed, the British Business Bank aims to make finance markets work better for small businesses in the UK. It works through partners to provide finance at different stages:Start up (see Start Up Loans below); Scale up; Stay ahead.


Green Investment Bank

Sectors: Sustainable projects

HSBC Bank plc

Lloyds TSB




The Co-operative Bank