There are a number of ways to access finance for your business

Finance and loans provided by AIB (NI) is not the only source of funds for your business. Whether you are starting out or developing your existing business, there are other options available.

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Alternative sources that are available

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    Equity is your own investment in business. If a business is to attract funds from external sources it helps if the owners have made a financial commitment to the business.


    In particular, financiers of and investors in business generally like to see a business promoter investing their own money in their business. It shows the promoter’s commitment to their business and reduces the overall level of bank debt needed to kick-start the business and to facilitate future growth.

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    Government funding

    There are a range of funding options available from government-supported schemes. Invest NI is the main Northern Ireland government agency responsible for the development and promotion of the business sector.


    Services provided by the agency include financial support and funding to enable businesses to compete and grow, so that they can contribute to regional and national prosperity.


    More information can be found on Invest NI’s website

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    Trade credit

    This is a period of time given to a business to pay for goods received from a supplier. It is negotiable and generally ranges from 28 days to 90 days.

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    Business Angels

    These are private individual investors who invest capital in companies during the early stages of development. Business Angels usually seek active participation, contributing their business know-how or experience in company management. They also generally expect an equity stake in the business in which they invest.


    For more information or

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    Venture capital

    Venture capital is money invested in innovative enterprises in exchange for a stake in the business. The standard time frame of the investment is three to five years, at which stage it is usually expected that there would be an initial public offering, merger, acquisition or a buy-out. 


    Venture capital gives your business a cash injection to fund expansion, product development or acquisition. Unlike more traditional forms of finance, periodic interest payments are not expected on the investment – the payout comes at the end of the term.


    Your business can also draw on the expertise and advice of the venture capitalists. This could include commercial and strategic advice, a network of business contacts, an experienced director on your board, or assistance with staff and management development, fundraising or marketing.


    More information can be found on or

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    EU funding

    The EU provides support to European SMEs in the form of grants, loans and in some cases guarantees. Support is available either directly or through programmes managed at national or regional level.

    SMEs can also benefit from non-financial assistance in the form of various programmes and business support services. 


    More information is available on

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Help and guidance

If you are having trouble finding the appropriate business funding sources for you, there are many guides and directories that you can take advantage of.


One site to help you find business funding sources is found at


GrantsNet is another one of the business funding sources that are available to businesses and charities. Through these different business funding sources, you should be able to fund something to help you, whether it is for starting up a business, expanding one, or buying one.

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