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Four types of bridging finance and how they can help SMEs navigate uncertainty

Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 17, 2022

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Bridging finance is a useful financial tool that can help carry SMEs through short-term periods of uncertainty, according to Tom Stuart, chief marketing officer at Lulalend

’’This is a form of short-term finance that is a useful way for SMEs to bridge cash flow gaps, fund operational needs or to start expanding a business because they also face the issue of delayed payment from their clients,’’ Stuart said.

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Having a clear understanding of bridging finance and its various forms is imperative in helping business owners understand which options are most suitable for their needs.

Here are the types of bridging finance options available to SMEs:

1. Closed bridging finance

Closed bridging finance is a short-term loan that is issued by a lender to a borrower for a fixed term. This type of bridging finance tends to be more accessible because lenders have a higher level of certainty for the repayment of a loan, since the set terms are agreed to beforehand.

2. Open bridging finance

Open bridging finance adds an element of flexibility for lenders. The terms of the loan do not stipulate a fixed date for repayment, which can be useful for businesses who face uncertainty. However, a setback in bridging finance is usually a higher interest rate owing to the uncertainty around the repayment period of the loan.

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3. Debt bridging finance

Debt bridging finance is useful for businesses who need temporary, short-term finance to cover operational costs while a larger, long-term finance agreement may be pending. While this solution can be helpful for a smaller business that needs to cover costs in the short term, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the repayment and interest structure of the loan to avoid exacerbating financial difficulties.

4. Equity bridging finance

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Equity bridging finance usually takes the form of venture capital or private equity investment in equity in exchange for funds. In this instance, a venture capital investor would supply funding for a lender while the lender raises equity financing. This is a useful way for a lender to avoid accumulating high-interest debt.

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