alternative financing

Feeding a growing global population of nine billion people by 2050 is one of the world's biggest challenges--especially in the context of rapid urbanisation, rising amounts of food waste and climate change. During one day of discussions senior executives from agribusiness, policymaking and the NGO community examined approaches to food and nutrition security.
When was the last time you met your bank manager? When was the last time you walked into a bank branch and interacted with anything other than a machine? My guess is that many people will struggle to remember.
The fearless and somewhat pioneering sprit that got me in to stand-up comedy all those years ago is now nudging me into the bosom of crowdfunding. Like most fiscal virgins I'm blushing in anticipation.
Nick Clegg has spoken this week of the need to extend the Funding for Lending scheme and "put it on steroids". George Osborne, Vince Cable and the Bank of England are also desperate to get the scheme working for small businesses.
While the banking sector continues to flounder amid increasing regulatory scrutiny, London is once again at the forefront of financial innovation as a number of young companies forge ahead in trying to solve many of the pressure points associated with standard banking products.
This was the heading of a recent Citi research report in the US, on the investment prospects of various regional banks. The title being an obvious play on the words from the infamous Dire Straits song 'Money for Nothing'. The broader subtext being that the banking system is broken.
Banks are no longer the only game in town. A host of new firms have sprung up offering small businesses an alternative route to finance. Kate Bassett looks at six of them.