Sentiment remains strong despite perception that lending has decreased

According to a recent survey conducted by non-bank business lender GetCapital, small business owners’ financial outlook for 2019 remains positive despite 74% believing that the Banks’ appetite for lending to small business has decreased this financial year.

“The response to our survey is particularly revealing ahead of the federal election called for 18 May 2019, and in light of the Government’s Budget initiatives targeting small business announced on 2 April 2019”, said GetCapital CEO Jamie Osborn.

Other highlights of this small business survey include:

“Access to capital for small businesses continues to be the biggest impediment to small business growth. We are hearing from customers, brokers and the market generally that Bank funding for small business continues to tighten”, added Mr. Osborn.

However, the bullish sentiment of business owners for the new financial year combined with almost half wanting to take advantage of the instant asset write-off scheme are very positive indicators.

“The asset write-off policy combined with the reduction in tax rate, provide strong incentives for profitable, tax-paying small and medium business to invest further in their businesses”, said Mr. Osborn. “Stimulating small business investment in this way is a very effective way of boosting employment growth, so there are likely to be positive flow-on effects to the general economy from these policies”.

Read the full press release.

The partnership reinforces commitment to the broker industry and SMEs

GetCapital continues to broaden its broker panel expansion by partnering with Loan Market Group, one of region’s largest and fastest-growing retail mortgage brokerages.

The partnership reinforces both GetCapital and Loan Market Group’s mutual commitment to the broker industry and their SME clients by offering more choice through a broader range of business solutions.

Access to working capital is often the greatest priority – and the greatest challenge – for small businesses. SMEs make up 96 per cent of Australia’s businesses, employing nearly 5 million people and producing over $330 billion of the country’s economic output per year.

Read the full press release.

International Women’s Day 2019

By Renata Cihelka, Chief Commercial Officer – GetCapital

‘Better the balance, better the world’. This is the message on International Women’s Day 2019 and beyond – and is particularly relevant for women in small business. Anyone who operates a small business understands the fine balance and dedication that’s required to succeed. The unique challenges of SMEs, though, often tip the scales. The uncertainties of fluctuating income, and the personal responsibility for everything – from staffing to stock control, and marketing to money matters – create enormous pressure. Add the long hours that intrude into personal time and family commitments and often it seems the stresses weigh heavily and rewards seem remote. It can feel overwhelming, especially when it is virtually impossible to ‘switch off’ from the demands made on time, energy and resources.

Further challenges for women in small business

According to the latest Census data (2016), only 33% of owner-managers of SMEs are women. Their smaller numbers leave them susceptible to a number of additional pressures. This year’s International Women’s Day Balance for Better theme aims to underline these pressures and challenges as the first step to redressing the gender balance. In business, this has implications for businesswomen and for the business community as a whole and as a working mother to two young girls, I feel these pressures and tensions between work, family and personal success first hand. The major challenges to women are:

Gender bias

Balance will mean the end of discrimination on the basis of gender To achieve balance for a better business environment, something has to be done about it. Recognising the issue is a first step, but even that is not always easy. Bias exists in many forms – both conscious and unconscious.

Similar qualities are perceived quite differently, depending on whether they are displayed by women or by men. For example: assertiveness in men is valued, but can be seen as pushiness or abrasiveness in women; men freely adopt a confident or authoritative demeanour, which is often interpreted as bossiness in women. This bias is well depicted in a recent Nike Ad called Dream Crazier. I personally found it honest, realistic and inspiring. You may enjoy it as much as I did.

Wrong assumptions, often made unthinkingly, that women are less able, or less suited to certain business activities, lead to judgements about their performance. Their achievements are also less likely to be recognised, or attributed to them. One of my high achieving female friends recounted that she was asked how she would manage being a partner in the firm as a mother to three children. We suspected that men were likely excluded from this survey! It is a human trait to value and associate those who are most like ourselves. The over-representation of men in positions of power and authority leads them to notice, accept and promote what other men think, say and do, while women become less visible.

Breaking into the boy’s leadership club

Balance will bring about the dismantling of barriers to full and equal participation of women in small business The WGEA/BCEC report, Gender Equity Insights 2019, released on 1 March, highlights the leadership prospects for women in business. In the past 5 years there has been only a 4.4% increase in the number of women in upper management positions. Progress towards redressing the gender imbalance among CEOs has been even slower, with a 1.1% increase. The report’s data suggest the number of male and female CEOs in Australia is expected to be equal by 2100 – that’s 80 years before we strike a balance. For parity in executive positions, the ETA (Estimated Time of Achievement) is 2047; for all other levels of management, it’s 2042. The imbalance sometimes goes unnoticed. Company X, for example, has 2 women on its senior management team. They are there by merit and the company is congratulated for its progressive approach to women in leadership positions. The team, however, comprises 15 members. At 13.3% female, it is neither balanced, nor genuinely representative.

Access to funding

Balance will involve supportive providers who provide equitable access to capital Entry into investor circles is one of the biggest challenges even Australia’s leading female entrepreneurs face. Attempts to raise finance – through grants, venture capital or loans – are often plagued by difficulties related to conscious or unconscious bias. Some women, conditioned to accept they must work harder to get the funds they need, lose confidence in the money marketplace. Women’s investment networks often provide information and practical support in accessing business funding. Other options are to explore P2P lending or to raise funds on public platforms. Women in business often approach non-traditional lenders, who offer simple online application processes, greater flexibility and personalised service.

The gender pay gap

Balance will result in equal pay for work of equal or comparable value Balance will result in equal pay for work of equal or comparable value Salary inequity is still a reality. According to the WGEA/BCEC report, at the highest-paid management levels, men are being paid $162,000 more than women in similar positions. At less senior levels, the gap is $31,000.

Women in small business are missing out …on family-friendly measures

Owner-managers in SMEs tend to take fewer holidays and even fewer sick days and have complicated superannuation arrangements. They are usually unable to take advantage of other measures that are of particular benefit to women, such as:

…and on career development resources

Women in leadership positions encourage, mentor and support other women. Women who own and manage SMEs often work without the benefits of strong female role models to provide positive input and guidance. Time pressures often mean professional development and keeping up to date with industry initiatives are lower priorities.

How to “Balance for Better”

It might mean better networks and better support structures so that women can exploit all opportunities open to them. It could mean better forums and platforms to share, with other women and men, their successes and fears, challenges and goals. ‘Balance for better’ is about moving, taking positive action, and encouraging others to do the same. The IWD website has excellent resources to give you some ideas.

GetCapital’s IWD 2019 campaign

Sharing stories is an ideal way to inspire others and promote action for change. We invite you to tell us what Balance means to you when running your small business. And to pass on this invitation to other women you know. You’ll have the chance to receive a prize to help further your business skills and networks. More importantly you’ll be part of what we’re all trying to do together – talking about the great things women are doing, and encouraging more women to tell their stories. When women share their successes, and the ways in which they have met their challenges, they are choosing a powerful way to recognise, inspire and support other women in small business. We would love to hear from you.

Code to improve industry transparency

As of 1 January 2019, GetCapital achieved full compliance with the Australian Finance Industry Association’s (AFIA) Code of Lending Practice, a customer-centric regulatory regime that supports small businesses by raising the level of transparency and disclosure in the industry.

The Code provides principles and best practice guidelines to help small businesses clearly identify if an online loan from a lender is compliant with the new Code, is right for their needs, exactly how much it is going to cost, and if it is the best solution available to them.

“We are committed to putting Australian small business owners first and elevating the level of lending transparency in the market,” said GetCapital COO Frank Sterle. “We consider the implementation of the Code to be a win for small business and are proud to have played a key role in its development”.

Introduced in June of 2018 together with a group of other online small business lenders, the compliance regime was developed in extensive collaboration with AFIA, the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (the Ombudsman), SME advocate, theBankDoctor.org and industry association FinTech Australia.

AFIA CEO, Helen Gordon said: “Together, in 10 months, we have established a Code with principles, guidelines and a governance process that other Fintech and non-fintech groups can replicate and leverage for their own products”.

SMART BoxTM

The Code supports small businesses by providing them with pricing comparison tool alongside their loan contract called the SMART BoxTM, an internationally recognised pricing disclosure model introduced in North America in October 2016 in response to a need for common language and standardisation in pricing disclosure in small business finance.

The SMART BoxTM includes clear and consistent pricing metrics, metric calculations, and explanations to help small businesses understand and assess the costs of their finance options. In Australia, it was developed in extensive consultation with key small business stakeholders, including lending platforms, policymakers, not-for-profit organisations, small business owners, and small business advocates.

Read the full press release

What could Christmas bring for your business?

As the saying goes: Christmas comes but once a year, but for many businesses Christmas spending is a seasonal gift – one that starts as early as October, and just keeps on giving until the New Year.

Food, hospitality and entertainment

The festive season means a spike in celebrations. That delivers big bonuses for restaurants and function centres catering for the gamut of office parties, family gatherings, and Christmas and New Year functions.

With an average spend of $250 per person on Christmas food and alcohol, the specialty and luxury food market also sees a boom in sales. Add to that the popular choice of alcohol and food hampers as special gifts.

Retail bonanza

The big Christmas winner is the retail sector. Australians will spend about $25 billion this season – on average about $1,325 each, according to finder.com. Christmas spend on decor items alone will run about $1 billion.

Retailers compete more fiercely every year for the ‘silly season’ dollar – especially with online retailing giants that have no geographical borders.

Gift buying is huge. The average spend is up to $500 per head- a bill of more than $11 billion. High on the list are cosmetics and beauty products, toys, clothing and electronics.

Purchasing follows a fairly predictable pattern. About 90% of shoppers plan to have Christmas shopping done before mid-December. The reality is often different. Last minute purchases probably say more about poor planning than savvy shopping, as retailers often save their discounted offers until the post Christmas sales.

For Christmas 2018, the general outlook among retailers is positive. According to survey results from Deloitte, 4 out of 5 predict higher sales this season, particular online, where they estimate growth of more than 10%. More than 80% of retailers also seem confident that the recent arrival of Amazon Australia will have no significant impact on their seasonal trading.

When making online purchases, however, customers want fast delivery and free (or low) shipping costs. Smaller online retailers, therefore, struggle to compete with the giants, finding it difficult to absorb rising freight costs.

Other industries reaping the benefits

Heavy retail activity boosts profits for freight movers and trucking companies; they experience their busiest period in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. Major stock deliveries to retail outlets and the massive increase in parcel deliveries means their holiday-related load is over capacity, despite many taking on extra staff.

The quieter achievers at Christmas are the payment processors, who handle the increased volume of seasonal purchases. And then there’s the predictable Christmas credit card debt.

Travel is still big business. Reports from the airlines and travel agencies vary, but according to Expedia, around 12 million people took time off over the Christmas period last year. SkyScanner reported that 70% of Australians put travel of some kind on their Christmas wish list last year and although many took advantage of early bookings to secure flights, up to 40% of those waited too long and chose not to pay the premium prices for travel in the peak period between 21 December and 5 January.

What do customers want for Christmas?

As always, all consumers are looking for a positive experience, high convenience and low prices.

But different market segments – based on age groups and spending power – want different things at different times. Whatever the industry, it is essential to analyse the available market information. Whether it’s about the most effective promotions, the right goods at the right price points, or the transaction mode itself, providing superior customer experiences will yield the best results. The details are in the data, but not all retailers are maximising the opportunity it offers.

PwC’s Retail Report for 2017 sums it up this way: ‘The retailers who have invested in data analytics capability are winning in the war to be more personal, more relevant and more responsive to shoppers today’.

So if you’re already thinking about Christmas 2019, that may be a good place to start.

Among fastest growing in Australia

GetCapital is proud to announce we have been included in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 for the second year in a row. The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 2018 ranks the fastest growing technology companies in Australia across a number of industries.

“For the second year running, we’re honored to be recognised by Deloitte”, said GetCapital CEO Jamie Osborn. “Our ambition is to help Australian SMEs grow by providing them with access to a range of innovative and cost-effective financing solutions.  Awards like the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 help validate our progress against this ambition”.

“As the only alternative lender to offer a full suite of tailored finance products to SMEs, we believe we have a unique proposition to help small businesses access the capital they need to grow”, he added.

GetCapital was also recognised in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 2017 Australia and Technology Fast 500 2016 APAC awards. Earlier this month, GetCapital was also recognised in the Australia Financial Review Fast 100 list.

For more details click here to see Deloitte’s full 2018 Winners’ Report.

GetCapital is proud to announce it has made the Australian Financial Review Fast 100 list for 2018, a compilation of Australia’s fastest growing companies.

“We are excited to have been included in this exclusive list of Australia’s rapidly emerging new businesses”, said GetCapital CEO Jamie Osborn. “Our strategy is to offer exceptional service to an under-served market, and to provide them with access to affordable growth capital through a technology-enabled value chain. We look to do this in a way that’s fast, convenient and hassle-free”.

Australia’s 2.2 million SMEs make up 96 per cent of all the country’s businesses and rely on credit to start, operate and grow their businesses. Yet despite employing nearly 5 million people, driving innovation and producing over $330 billion of Australia’s economic output per year, access to finance is still an enormous challenge.

Today, GetCapital is the only alternative lender to offer a full suite of tailored finance products to SMEs – including working capital loans, vehicle finance, general equipment finance, trade finance and longer term secured loans.

“The combination of our market-leading funding facilities and strategic partnerships give us a competitive edge that will support our growth plans for 2019 and beyond,” Mr Osborn added.

With a strong focus on building enduring partnerships, GetCapital recently secured a landmark $50 million funding facility with NAB to help support more Australian SMEs.

Click here to see the full list.

The vast majority of working women – whether sole or coupled, in dual or single income households – have to juggle myriad responsibilities inside and outside the home. Despite these obligations, the number of female owner-operators of small and medium-sized business (SME) in Australia is growing – a rise of 7.5% in the past decade, compared with 0.3% for men, according to latest available Census data. But although the growth of the female-led small business is steady, data from the Census, supported by figures from the ABS, shows women own and manage only 37% of SMEs in Australia. There are also gender differences in motivation, according to the ABS Profile of Australian Women in Business. Unlike men, women who become owner-operators of SMEs, rate ‘greater flexibility’ above the desire to earn a higher income. Many report their weekly income as ‘average’, despite working slightly longer hours than the average employee.

The Good

Despite the under-representation of women in Australian business, according to the Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, Australia is the second-best place for women to start up a business after the US, and we also get top scores in terms of women’s access to SME training programs. Women frequently begin businesses to fill specific gaps in the market – often in areas where they perceive a need. Their personal experience and understanding of potential markets translate into practical products and promotions that resonate well with targeted groups. Their own route to building a business also helps women become effective mentors, attuned to the needs of those who look to them for guidance. Women often report having had female bosses who encouraged them and shared their know-how and expertise, and are therefore willing to ‘pass it forward’. They also build supportive and collaborative relationships within their networks. Unfortunately, only a minority have the opportunity to use these skills in employer roles; less than 5% of employed Australian women are employers themselves.

The Not So Good

40% of business women believe they face greater challenges than their male counterparts. They still report subtle gender bias. When pitching proposals, women experience more probing challenges and criticisms, often aimed at their ability and understanding. And the gender pay gap is still a reality. One of the key findings about women and work from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in 2018 is that “there is a gender pay gap favouring men in every industry and occupational level”, ranging from 8.4% (clerical) to 24.9% (management) and 26.7% (technical). Women are also under-represented, less visible and less well integrated into mixed gender business networking systems. By far their biggest challenge is gaining access to finance – through grants, venture capital or even loans. Research by the Boston Consulting Group shows female-led start-ups receive only about 2% of available venture capital, even though they perform better, and ‘deliver higher revenue—more than twice as much per dollar invested—than those founded by men’. The Australian scenario is better, but women-led businesses still receive a very small proportion of capital funds. Ursula Hogben, General Counsel at LegalVision, believes it is less about unwillingness on the part of investors and more a ‘lack of communication channels’ between the parties. According to Hogben, “few (women) approach VCs to pitch and request investment”. As a result- and further compounding the problem- women owners are less inclined to back themselves, to challenge pushbacks and argue their case. This is one of the many reasons why they are increasingly turning to women’s investment networks – for support, and information about business grants. They also approach non-traditional lenders, who offer simple application processes (often online) and flexible smaller loans to finance the setting up or growth of their businesses. Women in business represent a huge source of social and economic potential whose value is not yet fully realised. Though these days it’s not exactly business as usual, there’s still a long way to go.

On 20 August 2018, GetCapital was appointed to the lending panel of leading aggregator PLAN Australia.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with PLAN as part of our commitment to support the growth of Australian SMEs,” said GetCapital CEO Jamie Osborn. “We look forward to delivering real value to PLAN’s experienced brokers, their customers and their businesses”.

Anja Pannek, CEO of PLAN Australia said: “We are delighted to partner with GetCapital and have them join our panel. This will further strengthen our commercial and asset finance options for our brokers and their customers.”

PLAN is one of Australia’s largest mortgage aggregation groups, with over 1,650 members and a total loan book value close to $70 billion. It has one of the largest partnership manager (PMs) workforces in Australia, with PMs across all states providing personalised support and business advice.

NAB funding to support more lending to small business

GetCapital is proud to announce it has successfully set up a $50 million funding facility with NAB to help fund more loans to Australian small businesses.

GetCapital CEO Jamie Osborn said: “The facility gives us greater capacity to lend more money to more SMEs, and also helps us to bring down the cost of our capital so we can provide more cost-effective and innovative finance solutions to the end customer. This is a structure that works well for us and works well for the bank.”

NAB Executive General Manager of Client Coverage for Corporate and Institutional Banking, Cathryn Carver, said: “NAB backs Australian businesses – not only is GetCapital a business we support directly but, through this funding facility, we’re indirectly able to support the business customers of GetCapital too.”

The new landmark funding facility follows unprecedented growth for GetCapital, which recently exceeded $250 million of total loans written.

The important milestone puts the company on track to reach its goal of $1 billion in funded loans by 2020 as it continues to meet the changing financing needs of small business customers.

Download the release.