Five questions for: Samantha Bamert, CEO of AskIf

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a commercial enterprise with an ambitious social mission.

890-Bamert-634

What does your business do?

Ask Inclusive Finance (AskIf) is a commercial enterprise with an ambitious social mission to close the sizeable funding gap for loans to financeable small companies unable to secure funding from banks. Smaller estimates suggest this funding gap could be upwards of £2.2bn per year.

Other research estimates much larger numbers. AskIf is a platform lender bringing together funders, a network of lending partners and the borrowers themselves. By providing support and funding to small companies, we'll enable job creation, economic value and opportunity in many communities across the UK.

What's been your greatest achievement?

The ecosystem of support and funding for companies who don't fit the tick-box requirements of banks is fragmented and incoherent, making it very difficult for companies to navigate. Our platform has been designed, built and launched, and connects a strong network of partners to systemically address the funding gap. We're gaining real traction. Since launching the platform last year, we have already processed over £4m of applications and financed over £1.3m of loans, creating 48 new jobs, and safeguarding a further 20 within 28 small businesses.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Wearing so many hats at the same time, as always happens in an early-stage fast-growing business, is both exhilarating as well as challenging.

What are your plans for hitting targets this year?

Later in 2018 we'll bring new capital into this marketplace, lending funds to many more small companies. In addition to working with institutional funders to enable this capital investment, we're delivering platform enhancements and expanding our network of partners, and will be piloting referral partnerships from other lenders to help their declined clients.

To position the company for this exciting growth, we're inviting new equity investors to join our supporters, with an equity offer through the online angel network SyndicateRoom.

What advice would you give entrepreneurs?

Always listen to advice don't be afraid to challenge your assumptions and pivot your focus. Remember, you're doing a great job.

Recommended

Small business: how to chase late-paying customers
Small business

Small business: how to chase late-paying customers

Many small business have trouble getting their customers to pay up on time. Here's what you can do about it.
23 Jan 2020
Don’t squeeze our entrepreneurs with higher taxes
Economy

Don’t squeeze our entrepreneurs with higher taxes

Britain’s entrepreneurs and business innovators get generous tax breaks. They should keep getting them.
17 Nov 2019
Mukesh Ambani: the Indian billionaire eyeing global expansion
People

Mukesh Ambani: the Indian billionaire eyeing global expansion

Mukesh Ambani is already the richest man in India by a large margin, but his ambitions do not end there. He wants India to be at the front of the worl…
19 Oct 2020
Last chance to secure a Bounce Back loan for your small business
Small business

Last chance to secure a Bounce Back loan for your small business

The government’s Bounce Back loan scheme will only run for another six weeks. Act now if you need to take advantage of it.
16 Oct 2020

Most Popular

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?
Sponsored

How will we repay our vast debt pile? Do we even need to?

In his recent articles looking at different aspects of the fixed-income investing world, David Stevenson looked at inflation. Today he looks at a clos…
19 Oct 2020
The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm
Bitcoin

The Bank of England should create a "Bitpound" digital currency and take the world by storm

The Bank of England could win the race to create a respectable digital currency if it moves quickly, says Matthew Lynn.
18 Oct 2020
Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts
Bank accounts

Negative interest rates and the end of free bank accounts

Negative interest rates are likely to mean the introduction of fees for current accounts and other banking products. But that might make the UK bankin…
19 Oct 2020