By Daniel Hunter

With the economy still struggling to keep its head above water, and the nation's small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) continuing to face problems in securing finance, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance is looking to offer much needed support.

The credit facility is set to inject £500 million into the SME sector, which will be divided into nine pots distributed between different regions around the UK, and it is hoped this will help healthy businesses grow.

However, for SMEs to qualify for such funding they must meet certain criteria, such as being a business-to-business trading company that is turning over between £50,000 and £10 million.

In addition to that any money lent to businesses uses already-raised invoices as security on the debt. So the scheme will favour companies that do not have a roster of in-progress projects: Hitachi will not lend to a construction firm on incomplete projects, for example.

"With lots of businesses finding it difficult to borrow, we really feel there is room for a new player. This is just the first stage of our initiatives for providing financing services to SMEs.’ So more exciting things to come, then," head of commercial business at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, John Atkinson, said.

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