By Ben Simmons

The Next Generation Finance Consortium (NGFC) has been formed by a group progressive thinking finance-oriented organisations who are seeking to change the finance landscape in the UK in response to growing demand for alternative sources of business finance.

The group will provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with much needed advice and support about new and traditional finance options available to them. It will also liaise with Government bodies and other organisations to lobby for support on key issues related to small business finance.

The founding members and steering committee behind the Next Generation Finance Consortium include: Crowdcube, MarketInvoice, People fund it, Capital Enterprise, Community Development Finance Association, Angel Capital Group and North London Community Finance.

Access to finance continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing British start-ups today. Official figures released last week showed that high street banks missed their ‘Project Merlin’ lending target to small firms by £1.1bn. This pain is amplified in London where 25 per cent of the UK’s new businesses start. The continued economic turmoil is stifling growth and threatening to create a lost generation of entrepreneurs.

Brent Hoberman, founder of Lastminute.com commented on the announcement: "New Generation Finance Consortium is a great initiative. Any support that start-ups can get in raising money is crucial for their success, and I'm excited to see the private sector supporting high growth early stage businesses in such an innovative way.

“When we started lastminute.com in 1998 it was very hard to find seed investors - we were lucky to find some by serendipity, directory inquiry and persistence. The latter will still be necessary but NGFC can help companies find finance in a more structured way.”

The Next Generation Finance Consortium, which represents every alternative to bank lending, aims to increase awareness among entrepreneurs of other new and emerging solutions now available to them. It will also organise events for entrepreneurs to network — finding out more about the options that best suit their needs and discussing their experiences with other entrepreneurs who have successfully raised finance by an alternative means.

John Spindler, managing director of Capital Enterprise, one of the founding members of the NGFC said: “This is an exciting time for the business finance industry in the UK; the emergence of so many innovative new models has given entrepreneurs the widest choice of solutions for some time. The emergence of crowdfunding and peer-to-peer finance models are game-changing developments that promise to change the finance landscape forever. Our goal is to raise awareness of these new models to catapult them into entrepreneurs’ consciousness.”